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Day 18 Frugal Living Challenge: Sticking to a Budget

May 17, 2012

This has always been a tough one for our home. BUT, we are getting better at it and reaping some rewards- like less stress and more stability.

Frugally Sustainable has a guest writer for this topic, with some solid general guidelines for getting started if this is something you have struggled to accomplish. This is what Jody Allen of Stay At Home Mum — The Secret to Living on One Wage suggests:

Set up the following categories:

  • Rent/Mortgage Repayments
  • Utilities (Electricity, gas, water)
  • Phone, Mobile and Internet Expenses
  • Insurance (House, Health, Life, Car etc)
  • Car, Transportation and Tickets
  • Food and Clothing
  • Medical
  • Entertainment
  • Other (debts, gym memberships etc)
  • SAVINGS!!!!

Jody elaborates further on some ideas of how to tackle this project and keep it from being overwhelming. (My personal opinion is that you shouldn’t let it get overwhelming– keep it simple so that it is empowering! )

Now It’s Your Turn

Daily Goal:
Make a budget.

Jody has these resources suggested to help you get started:

They are awesome! However, what I found that worked best for me was getting away from the computer and writing it all down old-school style. It seemed that the months I was more successful in managing the budget were the ones that I was diligent in spending time with some paper (duh). What I would suggest if you are ready to turn over a new leaf and tackle your spending is this:

  • Get a 3 ring binder- any old one will do. No need to spend money on tracking your budget!
  • Print out 12 -15 of these budget worksheets by Sissyprint. The categories are similar to those discussed in Frugally Sustainable’s post. They are pretty (for the girlies). I say 12-15 of them because if you are like me, you will screw a couple of them up.
  • Fill out the month for each month and stick it in your binder.
  • If you don’t already have a filing system in place for all your monthly statements, get 12 clear page protectors and stick your paid statements in one for their corresponding month. (This way, you’ll have them at your fingertips if you need to go back and verify something.) Now most of your budgeting materials are all in one spot.
  • Use the back of each month’s budget sheet to make any notes. I’ve found that there are always things that come up that are weird and have, in my mind, no category on the regular sheet. These are things like membership dues, doctor’s visits, or educations expenses. Whatever the total is for the things that require further explanation, put that amount in the Other category.

This should help you get a clearer picture of where you stand. And be patient. Just making your Budget Binder is a big step in the right direction, but it doesn’t magically solve your financial woes overnight.Keep it real, mmmmkaaay.

It feels so good to be in charge of your stuff! In fact, check out all these free printable organizing sheets available on Tip Junkie. I use grocery and meal planners, as well as chore and home duty worksheets. (No, I’m not paid by any of the entities I’ve mentioned here- I just know they work well for me. Not selling anything.)

In the end, the only one that can make this happen is you. Don’t worry about needing to tweak your system, just keep doing it. As long as you keep at it, you will get to your goal- figuring out your budget and sticking to it. Good luck!



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