Let’s talk money, honey.
Money is hard. So often we’re left with more month than money, more bills than income, and a lot of debt without much to show for it. Why is the credit card bill over $3000 again? Oh, yeah, I bought tires once for a car I don’t even own anymore.
Yeah. It’s not pleasant. If you’ve been there, maybe you’ve considered the “B” word: BUDGET. Definitely not a fun word, especially if your bills are greater than your income. What do you do then?! (Cry. That’s what I did. It wasn’t very productive, but there you have it.)
Our Budget Story
When I was pregnant with the WeeSheBeast, Husbeast and I decided that it would be best if I could stay home with her. This meant that we’d lose our big income, my income, and be left with a little less than half of what we were making combined.
That’s a big cut.
To account for it, we moved into my parents’ house with them, so we wouldn’t have to pay rent. And, also so that I would have the support from my folks when Husbeast left for Basic Combat Training and job training with the Army. We cloth diaper (I talk about it enough, eh?), I breastfeed, and we generally keep things a little greener around here for the frugality of it all.
After the WeeSheBeast was born, we traded in our Subaru Forester and sold my Beetle (sniff I miss her) and purchased an older, but in great condition, Toyota Sienna. The minivan will be able to grow with our growing family, and it shaved about one-third off of our monthly car payments.
Starting a Budget
I poked around a bunch of different budget models, and finally settled on the Dave Ramsey method. I like Dave because his no-nonsense approach makes sense, the cash envelopes make sense, and there’s a huge community, both online and off-line, that you can turn to for support.
The baby steps are easy to follow and succeed with. Basic budgeting forms are provided for you. His book, The Total Money Makeover, is an easy read and is packed with stories just like yours and mine.
After the Husbeast left a few weeks ago, I took it upon myself to prettify our budgeting and make sure we had budget sheets that worked for us and our situation. I got it all organized and into a budget binder, so I could do all of our record keeping at once.
Now, I’m working out how much to have in which categories and making it flow from month-to-month. I’m hoping to have it mostly figured out by the time Husbeast is done with his training and we’re reunited, so we can just keep this well-oiled machine running smoothly, instead of having to endure the inevitable bumps that come with budgeting.
Free Printable – Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps
At the front of our budget binder, in a sheet protector, is a printout of Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps. This helps keep me focused, and keeps our eye on the prize: debt freedom.
I’m including this so all of you can get started and motivated with us! Print it out, put it in your budget binder. Heck, print it out multiple times and hang one in your office, on your fridge, by the door, wherever you need to put it to stay on track!
Do you budget? What budgeting system do you use?