I am a huge advocate of Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University. Dave managed to become a millionaire twice and lost it all twice before him came up with this financial course that has helped him stay on the right track for years. He has taken advice from millionaires that still maintain the title and applied their principles and his experience into the baby step plan for success.
Dave Ramsey does have free resources for you to use and you can easily come up with some on your own. I wanted to show you one way we keep on top of our bills and offer a giveaway for you to get started on your own! These were all from the Dollar Tree or the Dollar General. So if you don’t win today, it’s very inexpensive to go out and start your own envelope money system for around $3.
First, write every expense you have. I think jenplans.com does an excellent 2 part on how to get started on all this. For our family, we found the best way to be accountable for our spending habits was to write down hubby’s monthly income. From there we wrote down everything that had to be paid, namely the things we would get a bill for. We then subtracted that from the monthly income and then went down to what we normally spent on things and what we could afford to spend on things. Hint: We spent more on ourselves than what we needed or could afford. Bye-bye Starbucks on a frequent basis, kind of thing. This will definitely look different for everyone! To put things in perspective, we are a family of 6 living on $22,000 a year. Yes, I just wrote it out instead of jumping around the bush but there you go. As you can see, that means that what is important to some people, take TV for example, are not for us. We can’t afford it even if we did want it–which we don’t. So that is going to be a big impact on how you budget everything.
We also love cold hard cash. I have a debit card but my husband keeps it in his wallet unless I need it to deposit checks or make some kind of online purchase. I had it in my wallet for a good while and found I was using it more than I should have and my husband doesn’t buy anything so it was a safe bet. Aren’t marriage relationships funny that way? It seems like its usually one way or the other. Either the guy is a spendy person and the wife is more frugal or visa versa. So, whether you keep a pen and paper budget plan or an online plan or are really clever at online banking you need to have some kind of accountability and paper trail so you know how to keep expenses. For us, I have the month’s budget in my envelopes and then as I go out and get the needed things, I can take the allotted cash for that week and if there is any leftovers return it to the envelope or be out of money for that category for that week.
Some months can be more difficult than others. My husband recently learned that he needs to go off Almonds, Dairy, and eggs. Those were HUGE staples in our diet and guess what, he is allergic to them. So for this past month as we have been learning to adjust, our food bill went up more than we budgeted for. Thank the Lord you budget for savings! But, you get back on your budget, and make evaluations as needed. What would work for the past 6 months may need to change in the next.
I found this bill tracker at the Dollar General and I thought it would be a most helpful way to keep track of bills and amounts and receipts to help you in your budget/financial journey. It is similar to what my husband already uses and definitely more pretty (which appeals to me ;))
In this giveaway, I am including the Bill tracker and the according filer and a few of the envelopes that I have already written on. The rest of the envelopes were donated to our local Pregnancy Care Center for their use. To enter answer in a comment below; “Do you have a hard time sticking to a budget?”
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Have a wonderful weekend.