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How to Start a Super Simple Budget

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I feel like it’s everywhere. “How I paid off $40k of debt in 8 months” and “How I saved $1200 a month using this budget.” I am not hating. Don’t get me wrong. I just feel like these are especially unique situations. Getting out of debt is a real struggle. It’s not glamorous and its not effortless.

Getting Started

When I started my journey towards financial freedom, the first thing I needed to learn was how to create a budget. I tried creating a budget on Quick Books and even tried creating a spreadsheet on Excel…only to not ever use either of these again. Finding a budget that works for you hugely depends on your learning style. I love computer graphs and colorful charts but I learn best hands-on.

I found this budget sheet on thebudgetmom.com website and decided to give it a whirl. This is a great budget sheet. However, I found myself whiting out certain sections of the sheet that didn’t really apply to my situation. I wanted something super easy (and cute to look at) to use until I became more familiar with budgeting. Ultimately, I ended up creating my own budget sheets. (You can get them free under the Free Stuff tab) Below is a picture of how I set up my monthly budget sheet. I like to know what I have to pay and when I have to pay them in correlation to my paydays. This type of budgeting is called paycheck budgeting.

The Rationale

Overall, this method has helped me make my payments on time (no more forgotten payments Yay!) and it has helped me plan special purchases. For example, (referring to my budget sheet pictured above) I know I have two birthdays this month. Budgeting these special occasions on to my monthly budget sheet ensures that I can control which paycheck the extra expenses will come from. This way, my regular monthly bills are not affected and I don’t forget to buy birthday gifts.

Honestly, I lived and breathed for TBM’s budgeting techniques. I learned so much from Miko. You can check out her page here.

The How-To

How to use this budget sheet:

  1. First, write down every bill you pay. Write down the company name, amount due (estimate if the amount varies per month) and write down the day it is due.
  2. Second, fill out the calendar for the month you are budgeting. Write the bill name down on the corresponding dates on the calendar.
  3. Next, write in your paydays with your estimated net take home pay.
  4. Color code your paydays for each week and highlight the bills you will be paying with each weekly pay check with the correlating color.
  5. Finally, sit back and admire your masterpiece!

It’s Not Over

Once this monthly budget sheet is completed, I take it a step further. I use my Paycheck Bill Tracker sheet to write down the exact dollar amount of each expense. Ultimately, I also use this sheet to deduct the total amount of expenses from my total amount of income. You can download all the budgeting sheets you need for free here. Depending on what (if any) is left over after doing this, I also use this sheet to determine how much will be placed into savings and my sinking funds. Wait, let me not get too ahead of myself. More about my Paycheck Bill Tracker and sinking funds on my next post.

Would you like to see how I distribute the left over funds from each paycheck? Comment below & I’d be happy to show you!

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