Monday, April 6, 2015

Debt Free 2015: Weekly Budget

As I was originally sitting down to write this post I was beyond excited. I had a big milestone to share. I was about to pay off one of my credit cards completely. I had it all planned out in my head what I was going to write. And then reality came and said "I don't think so Paige." On Thursday as I was driving home from work my car decided to break down. So instead of using that last $800 on my CC it instead went to repairing my Mini. I was pretty bummed to say the least. But it still fits into this weeks post pretty well and is  a great reminder that even the best laid budgets of mice and men, often go awry.

What has been helping me the most to cut down on spending has been using a budget. Over the last year or so I have tried almost every kind of budgeting system you can imagine. I have download apps and printables, created numerous spreadsheets and  saved receipts. I would do really great with it for awhile and then BAM, I'd fall off the wagon. I have come to the realization that I was making it to complex. I sat down and wrote what I didn't like about the current systems had tried.

  • I have trouble planning out an entire month
  • I don't like/have the time to log purchases and find out if I am over my budget
Knowing this information I decided a weekly budget is what works best for me. Each Sunday I use the printable linked below to create a budget for the week. Every Sunday or Monday, I sit down and  take into consideration if I need to go to the grocery store, if I need pet supplies, any upcoming events I have scheduled, etc and add a dollar amount to that line item with what I think I will spend. I then total up everything up and take that out that much money and basically use the Dave Ramsey envelope systems. FYI, I usually budget between $150-200 a week and end up with some money leftover.

I keep my cash in a mini expanding file organizer that I picked up at the dollar bin at Target. It's great because I can keep my checkbook, receipts, a pen, my small wallet and the cash all in one place. For daily purchases I only use the money from this. If I need to order something online or pay with my credit card, I immediately take the cash out and put it in a deposit envelope. Under budget money goes back into this envelop as well.

Now I am sure you are asking what about your set expenses (rent, insurance, CC payments etc). To monitor those I use an app called Mint Bills. Here I track all monthly reoccurring bills. Typically, I try to pay all of my bills as soon as I receive a paycheck. For example, if I am paid on the 20th I will pay all the bills that are due from that point on until my next paycheck. This way I can ensure that I don't forget to pay them, have enough money in the bank for them and know how much money I have left over for weekly expenses.  

This system has really helped me get control of my spending but as I mentioned above sometimes you have to go outside your budget. If that happens remind yourself: "C'est la vie!"

What budgeting techniques work for you? Anyone else have to try a few things before they found their system?

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