Do you have a difficult time staying on budget? It is a daunting task sometimes! Although this was a weekly and monthly occurrence for my husband and I, we were always behind, always tying to catch up, not even striving to get ahead. We just felt it would be impossible!
Nearing the end of our rope, we decided to attend a financial class put on by our church. Ever since then we have a new understanding and perspective. We now have a process and routine for staying on top of our bills and being aware of our expenses. Follow this step by step budgeting process!
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of Gods varied grace.1 Peter 4:10
Evaluate Your Finances
Take a look at your total income vs. your total expenses. Try to be as thorough and honest as possible to eliminate any surprises. Does your income cover all of your expenses and leave you with a little left over? Yes, Perfect! We’re moving forward!
No, what can you eliminate right now to bring your expenses down? (Cancel a subscription, cut back on coffee money or lunch money, cancel cable for the time being) These small changes could save you hundreds of dollars for the year!
Next, go through your bills and write down the amount due, and when it comes out of your account (for auto deductions), or the due date. This is a simple budgeting tool to get you started. I keep mine on a sheet in my Planner, however you can use a computer, or even a new scratch paper each time!
After that Divide them up by due date into your pay periods. Ours are bi-monthly, so I pay bills twice. Some with our first check and the rest with our second check. Make a master list for each pay period showing the amount (average for utilities) and the due date.
What about Irregular Expenses?
I keep an ongoing list of any upcoming irregular expenses off to the side for each month. If I know it’s coming, I can be more prepared and work it into our budget. Examples of irregular expenses would be, a dentist procedure I’m saving for, a doctor bill, a birthday celebration, or auto repair. We don’t like to use our credit card, so when I write this down, I can set aside a little each paycheck to help with the expense. Although I sometimes need the Credit for emergencies. But hey that’s what they should be for.
When we get paid, I take out a set amount for tithe to our local church. After that, I do a quick deduction of our expenses from our income and see what we have leftover for spending, savings, and, upcoming expenses.
From here you can see if there is anything you need to cut back on to cover your expenses. Then I go ahead and pay our bills online, total out what is scheduled for auto deductions, and transfer decided amount to our savings account. Then it’s off to the bank to take out whatever cash is needed to get through the pay period, using our debit card as little as possible. I leave at least $100 in our account as a safety net (I forget things more than you know). Some of our cash categories include; Groceries, Fuel, Goal Saving, and Spending Money.
Feel the Connection
We use this cash system because it is much harder to part with cash then it is to swipe a card. You can physically see what is left. Unlike plastic, which has no emotional connection between you and the money you spend. Putting the cash in separate envelopes keeps everything organized. We do this with our Grocery fund. Take a peek at how I’ve Simplified Meal Planning to stay on budget.
The point of these budgeting tips is to allow you to be the boss of your money, not to be a slave to it or the habits that take it so quickly out of our hands. Leaving a stockpile of unallocated funds in your checking account will slowly dwindle away. You likely won’t remember what happened to it, or worse, have nothing to show for it. Set some financial goals, and work towards them. You are the boss! Pretty soon, you will create a perfect system for paying bills by controlling your cash flow, and soon, reach your financial goals!
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