30 Day Money Challenge: Creating a Budget

If we are talking about saving money you have to talk about budgeting! You have to know how much you have and how much you spend every month in order to see places you need to work on and need to cut back. When the hubs and I first got married we created a budget something we both had never done before. There are so many things you have to consider its amazing. One thing that has helped us is by using a cash system. You can’t spend what you don’t have! We use cash for groceries, eating out, and entertainment (date night).

What if you have never created a budget before?
The first thing I would do is collect receipts, bills, and write down places you spend money for a month. That way you kind of have a basis to see whats going on. Then break down  your expenses. See if there is a area that you could work on and cut some things out. Like the 5 or 10 latte’s you purchased that month.

Figure out how much you bring home every months and what bills are consistent!
For us we never know how much money we will take home exactly because of both of our jobs so we take an average.
Then figure out the bills that are consistent like insurance, car payments, rent or mortgage payments.

Create a Realistic Budget & Things to Budget For!
This is probably the best advice I could give anyone. If I had it my way I would budget barely anything for food and what not, but its just not practical. We spend more money on groceries then a lot of people we know because we buy a lot of healthy foods, barely any process foods, and a lot of dairy free products which are more expensive. We also include toiletries ad bath stuff in this category. You can also use websites like mint.com to help you budget.

Guess high on a lot of things like water, electricity, gas, etc. You rather guess to much then not enough and end up coming up short. If you have previous bills find the highest ones and use that as the number you use.

Don’t forget your furry friends! Kaia (the husky) is in our budget! We budget about $35 a month for her. This includes food and meds. Literally make a budget for everything

Spending money- When the hubs and I were bringing in a little more money we each had our own money to spend on whatever we would like. I had $40 a month and Neil had $20 (his decision not mine). Of course we would ask each other before making a purchase to make sure it was wise. When we know a month is going to be tight (like the last severely months) this is the first thing to go! Honestly I don’t miss it that much I need to learn to be content with what I have anyway! I have everything I need and I am happy with that. Not happy when I find a new craft project I want to do ;)!

Eating out/date night- eating out is one of the biggest budget blunders people deal with. Without even realizing it you can spend tons of money eating out. Make a limit on how much you want to spend eating out each month. Use cash so you can’t go over.

Emergency fund- creating an emergency fund is important for when those unexpected things come up!

Extra things fund- we budget for some extra things like birthday presents and Christmas.

Don’t forget the most important thing if you are a christian. Tithing. We always tithe no matter what! It’s God’s anyway right.

There you have it the basics of budgeting that we use in our family. Although I have not read it myself but I hear Dave Ramsey’s book on budgeting is really good. Are there any other tips you have for budgeting? I would love to hear your ideas!

Just in case you missed it…
Part 1 Learning to Live on Less
Part 2 Free Date Night
Part 3 Learning to Spend Less

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  1. I really like your blog and I enjoyed this post. I’m really going to work on creating a budget for myself. And I appreciate the tips you gave, especially the part about tithing. Most of the time when I’ve read about budgets and financial planning, tithing is not in that and for me not tithing is not an option. So I’m going to read up on the other parts of this series as well. Thank you.

    * I stopped by from one of the linky parties (can’t remember now – lol, but anyhoo, I’m following through GFC.

  2. I am enjoying your 30 Day Money Challenge. Things are very tight for us and I am starting to do a budget. Should have done it years ago! You are exactly right concerning the tithing.

  3. Hi Y’all- I’m working on my budget, and I was just wondering how much you tithe a month. Is there a certain amount we should give?

    1. Hey! Great job doing a budget! A tithe is technically 10% of your income before tax. So for us what we make various a lot month to month. So we have to keep track of how much we make and then tithe weekly from that. Hope that helps!

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