Keys to Making it Work

Yesterday I mentioned three things that are necessary for this budget adventure to work:

1.  Accountability
2.  Flexibility
3.  Togetherness

We talked already about accountability and how important that is, and today we will talk about flexibility and togetherness, which I think go hand in hand.

When you come to the table for your budget meeting you need both of these. You need to be prepared to be flexible.  Yes, you have come to the table with your set of “requirements”, but remember, so has your spouse.  Most likely you both aren’t going to get everything you want.

Also, when coming to the table, you both need to remember that for this thing to work you have to be in it together.  If only one person is working the budget, or keeping the budget, you will have less success.

So, as you sit down for your first meeting, make a list of income, and necessity expenses (home, food, giving, and of course debt).  Then begin to make a combined list of wants (housing or decorating, clothing, recreation, entertainment, etc). {notice I put clothing in the “want” category, which I think would most likely be true for most – most people’s closets are busting at the seams – but feel free to move it to the “necessity” category if you feel led. :)}  You also need to make a list of irregular expenses – things that only happen every so often (car tags, insurance, birthdays, Christmas, auto repair, home repair).  Basically you want to make an exhaustive list at this point of anything you might spend money on.

After you make the list comes the flexible part.  Of course, some of these things have a set amount – start with those.  Then with whatever money you have leftover – start dividing that up between the other items on your list.  This is where tracking your spending will come in handy – you now have some sort of gauge for how much you might need to spend on gasoline, food, eating out, etc. Don’t forget to include those irregular expenses too.  When things like auto repair are needed, they should not have to constitute an “emergency expense”.  Cars need to be fixed on occasion, and it’s easier on the budget if you prepare for that. So, these categories are basically savings.  The idea is to give every last penny a designated spot, because when there is “leftover” money – who know where that goes – am I right??

Here is an example 
Income:
$5,000.00
Charitable
Tithe (church giving)
$550.00
$4,450.00
Savings
Emergency Fund
$50.00
$4,400.00
Housing
Mortgage
$988.38
$3,411.62
Repairs
$20.00
$3,391.62
Housing Allowance
$100.00
$3,291.62
Utilities
Electric
$249.00
$3,042.62
Gas
$65.00
$2,977.62
Internet/Phone/Cable
$159.01
$2,818.61
Cell Phone
$184.00
$2,634.61
Food
Groceries
$600.00
$2,034.61
Eating Out
$40.00
$1,994.61
Transportation
Gasoline
$300.00
$1,694.61
Repairs and Tires
$20.00
$1,674.61
Car Insurance
$180.00
$1,494.61
Car Tags
$20.00
$1,474.61
Pikepass
$40.00
$1,434.61
Clothing
Children
$40.00
$1,394.61
Adults
$40.00
$1,354.61
Medical/Health
Doctor
$10.00
$1,344.61
Dentist/Orthodontist
$10.00
$1,334.61
Personal
Commission (allowance for kids)
$150.00
$1,184.61
School Supplies
$10.00
$1,174.61
Gifts
$40.00
$1,134.61
BLOW (adult allowance)
$160.00
$974.61
Recreation
Entertainment
$20.00
$954.61
Vacation
$20.00
$934.61
Baseball
$10.00
$924.61
Soccer
$10.00
$914.61
Piano
$120.00
$794.61
Gymnastics
$300.00
$494.61
Debt
Car Payment
$290.84
$203.77
Credit Card
$203.77
$0.00
Monthly Spending
$0.00
Left Over
$0.00

We use an excel spreadsheet because that’s what works for us, but when we started it was just a list on paper, with a calculator.

So, now you have numbers on paper!!  Good job!!

Blessings and Peace!!  See you back here tomorrow!!

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