Once upon a time I thought I was so smart and efficient for spending hours pouring over a spreadsheet and figuring out the PERFECT numbers that would make our budget work for the new year – usually based on our spending from the previous year (spending that was over budget for that year, mind you). And thus, a vicious cycle began. The problem was, I was setting the same numbers for each of my expense categories for each month. So while we had a budget that we were following, we inevitably would go over budget one month because of an expense that I did not or could not anticipate at the beginning of the year. This left me feeling defeated and frustrated that our “perfect” numbers were not working.
Does this happen to anyone else? It makes you feel like you are trapped under these huge money constraints you came up with at the beginning of the year ALL YEAR LONG. Life doesn’t stay the same throughout the year though, so why should your budget?
A little over a year ago, I started reading about budgeting month-to-month. It made so much sense to me! We decided to give it a try starting February 2016 and create a monthly budget JUST for that month. This is also about the same time that we started following Dave Ramsey, and as many of you may know, he is a huge supporter of this practice. We gave it a try (with a budget meeting and everything!) and LOVED it! It gave us the freedom to spend money on things that we normally would have said no to or spent hours stressed about how we were going to pay for it.
It took us about 3 months to really get the hang of it and get a good running list of the expenses we run into on a normal basis. So yes, that meant we went over budget in some categories – and still do!
And that is okay!
The point of starting a budget is to become aware of your finances and make good decisions about your money that work for you. It is not to make yourself feel bad about not being perfect when you go over budget or accidentally splurge, because no one is! Just take note of your weaknesses or triggers and make a conscious effort to work against those in the future.
I promise you that if you take the time each month to look at your finances and make a plan for your money you will feel like a) you have more money and b) you can spend money without feeling guilty (as long as you put it in the budget!).
Do you need a new dress for that wedding next month? Go ahead and do a little research on how much it might cost you and set a reasonable budget. Then go SHOP without the guilt!
Do you love eating out and want to try out that new restaurant on date night next week? Look up the menu to get an idea of how much it might cost, and set a reasonable budget for date night. Then go have FUN!!
Does your car need new tires? Yeah, this is not a fun one… But if you know that now, then price out how much new tires will cost and either save up a set amount over the next couple of months OR if you can swing it, put that in next month’s budget and cut down expenses in another category.
Do you plan out a monthly budget?
FREE 5-Step Budget Workbook!
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