My husband and I have been somehow getting by without a written plan for money every month (otherwise known as a budget).
As you may already know, I stay home with my son so i don’t bring in any money but I do save quite a bit by not spending $$ on daycare and saving on groceries and not eating out.
Budgeting our income is kind of difficult. Jason makes money through his regular day job and that’s pretty regular income BUT he has lots of music gigs that vary every weekend. This weekend he had two gigs with two different bands. He can make $200 in a weekend or $500 – which makes monthly budgeting a headache.
That being said I got my yellow notepad out and went to work. I listed my categories on the left from most important to least important. Along the top of the paper, I wrote the dates we are planning on getting income and above that I wrote out the figures we think he’ll get paid (he could get tips or the gig could get cancelled or he could pick up another gig)
First things first – I calculate tithing before deducting any expenses. Next, I list my weekly budget items: groceries, gas, and misc/cash. I don’t need all the money all at once and by paying those categories weekly, I can pay more bills at the beginning of the month.
My next categories are the most important of the bills – Electricity, Water, Mortgage… then comes the Car Insurance, HOA (can’t wait to move and not have that anymore!), Phone, Cable, Health/Personal, Car Debt, Credit Card debt – yes, unfortunately we have it. Consequences of wanting to get the house finished quickly.
Since we have enough in savings to cover for a little while, we put any money left over towards our smaller debt (the credit card). Once both debts are done, we’ll put the extra money into savings to beef it up a little more and then probably start putting money aside for a down payment on our next home.
Ok this is actually HOW I do the budget, On the 6th of September, my husband gets paid from his regular job and has a music gig that night. So I’ll take the income from that day and first pay to our weekly stuff (Groceries, Gas, and Jason) and then I’ll go down the list paying to each category. That income from this day will probably pay down through water to our mortgage but definitely not all of the mortgage.
So on the 7th, he has another music gig – I’ll put all of that money towards the mortgage.
The next Friday rolls around and I first pay to our weekly needs and then finish up the mortgage and then move onto car insurance and the HOA. You get the point.
Some things I figured out while doing a budget…
- Write in pencil – seriously I have scribbled on yellow notebook paper everywhere.
- Look at your bank statement/ bills.. yeah I forgot to add car insurance and cable/internet to mine (twice).
- Be prepared to do it over again… and again and again.
- This is not a set it and forget it kind of thing. Consult your budget daily and modify and adjust weekly with your husband or wife.
I expect to have to modify our September budget as the month goes – changes in income or larger or smaller than expected bills. Like budgeting $250 for electricity but then getting a $340 bill – like woa. Yes… with these hot summer months, come crazy power bills.
I have tried to do budgets on the computer before but I never keep up with it. I think this is one of those things that needs to get placed on a “mommy planner board” on the inside door of the pantry or somewhere you will always be reminded of it.
If you are like me and just can’t visualize what I just described – I created a sample budget that you can view. SAMPLE BUDGET