I love to dive into things and experience a lot, but that doesn’t come without a little (or A LOT) of budgeting. Things cost money, naturally, and making sure I live within my means takes a bit of work! Trust me if I had any luck I’d buy a lottery ticket, but I have a feeling that’s not going to happen. Joel and I sat down to make a budget so we can plan for our future trips and figure out our savings. Summer is just around the corner and it’s a busy (and expensive) time so making a budget right now feels like the best time to do it.
- First off I always start with expenses. Make a list of the expenses you have that are guaranteed to come out of your account each month. I always include gas, food, and my activities in my expenses. I don’t write any activities, dinners, or travel plans in my expenses. Just what I NEED to make payments for in a month. Make a total at the bottom.
- Make a list of your average income. I tend to round down so that in the months where I may make less I still have sufficient funds. Make a total for this as well.
- Next I see what money I have in excess. This is the money that I will be splitting up for travel, date nights etc.
- Make a PRIORITY list. I like to make a list of things I want to spend my money on and in their order of importance to me. I always have my savings at the top of this list and right underneath is travel. Ordering this list in a way that lets me see what is more important to me to spend my money on allows me to invest in things I really want first. Underneath travel usually comes festivals and events, date nights, followed by clothes and other materialistic goods.
- See how much money you have in excess and divide among your priority list. Usually I give my savings 30-50% of my excess. Followed by 25% to travel and then divide the rest from there. On months where I have more excess then I am able to give myself a little extra where I want to that month.
Once my budget is made, being able to stick to it is key!! A lot of times I make a budget but then can get carried away. I know what has worked for me and others is to put your excess right into your savings accounts right away. Having cash when buying groceries or when going out on dates or shopping lets you see how much money you really have to spend. Another thing is you don’t have to spend ALL your excess in a month. Don’t aim to spend it, it is just there if you need it! If I have leftovers it just carries over into next months pot.
If you have any tips or tricks on how you budget let me know. It can be such a pain but I know when I stick to it, I feel so much more in control and happy. You can still do a lot in life for little or no money! Happy budgeting 🙂