I hate math. Like, out of 7.5 years of undergrad + grad school, I took exactly one math class. So if I can learn to love budgeting, well, anybody can.
Mr. Right and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University back when we were engaged, and it was one of the greatest investments we have made in our marriage. That first year of marriage, we owned two houses (so two mortgages), paid for Mr. Right’s grad school, had to replace an air conditioning unit after our second house was broken into, and paid off all of our debt except our house. It was actually fun, and taught us that we could live a very full life without spending a ton of money. It also taught me how to watch our budget like a hawk.
(Source: Dave Ramsey)
Four years later, I have learned several lessons when it comes to budgeting:
1. It’s not going to work for the first three months. And that’s okay. But if you continue tweaking it, then I promise that eventually it will become almost a no-brainer.
2. Having a budget reduces stress. Knowing exactly where your money is going, and whether you’re ahead or behind on your budget, reduces that stress of the unknown.
3. Having a budget makes you feel like you have more money. It’s so easy to spend $8 on lunch here, $4 on coffee there, and next thing you know, you’ve dropped $100 and you don’t know where it went! That’s $100 you could have used on clothes, or date nights, or something fun… or for paying bills.
4. Having a budget doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun. We make room in our budget for clothes, and entertainment, and eating out… for gifts and our anniversary get-aways. We also give ourselves “fun money” each month to do whatever we want with it.
5. Having a budget will help your marriage. Forcing yourself to talk about your budget and your long-term family goals helps reduce fights over money, and helps you to feel like you’re on the same team, with the same goals.
6. Having a budget reduces your feelings of guilt. When we first got married, I always felt guilty spending money on myself. Money was so tight, and every dollar I spent on things like makeup felt like I was taking money from something important. But once we created a budget and built all of our needs into it, I no longer felt guilty about spending money on myself, because it was MY money.
I have found that when something is simply/clean/cute, I’m much more likely to use it. And so, I designed a budget spreadsheet that can help you meet your goals, know exactly how much money you need to have in your account at any given time to cover all of your expenses, and give you a great starting point. It’s available for instant download in my shop here.
Friends… how do you feel about budgets? Any tips you want to share with my readers? Leave them in the comments below!
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