Wellness Wednesday: Why One Small Change Can Improve Wellness https;//reclaiminghope.blog

[Wellness Wednesday] Does Budgeting Have To Be Such A Pain?

Happy Wednesday everyone, and happy Halloween! If you have little ghosts and goblins you’re taking out to trick-or-treat, I hope you have good weather for it, and that your little ones get lots of candy. Maybe they’ll even share with you.😊

A little while back, we talked about Financial Wellness, and I shared some websites and apps that might be helpful for budgeting and getting or staying on the path to financial wellness. Since this typically starts the time of year where we have many opportunities to donate to various charities, spend extra on food, and buy gifts, I thought it might be a good time to talk a little more about budgeting, or more specifically, a spending plan.

I’ve heard Dave Ramsey, author of Financial Peace and founder of Financial Peace University, say something along the lines of… you have to tell your money where to go or you’ll look and it’ll be gone. I know I’ve found that to be true. How about you?

Dave Ramsey, Crown Financial, and many other financial websites and apps have great budget worksheets you can print out and use, or software you can plug your info into. The only problem for me is that (if I’m being completely honest) I’m too lazy to do all the work some of these things require. Also, I do like to have a paper copy of my spending plan. For some reason, that makes it more real.

Because I know that about myself, years ago I made a simplified version of our spending plan and have been using it ever since. I’m nowhere near a financial whiz – if I was, I’d be completely debt-free and living on an island somewhere – but as I talked about with exercising, the best exercise (or in this case, spending plan) is the one you’ll actually do (use).

These two little sheets have helped us get and stay on our path toward financial wellness, so I thought I’d share them with you. Obviously, your sheets wouldn’t look exactly like mine, but the basic idea is just to ‘tell your money where to go.’

Monthly Budget Worksheet https://reclaiminghope.blog

 

Notes:

  1. For income, planned and actual should be the same, but occasionally, you might have some type of additional income you hadn’t planned on, such as an unexpected refund, some type of rebate you receive, etc.
  2. Separating expenses by category helps ensure all your absolute necessities are taken care of before you start spending any discretionary funds. As you can see, I’ve color-coded categories just to make it easier to see what’s what at a glance. You can use the extra rows to break the overall categories into specifics also.
  3. You know that old adage about paying yourself first – if you can put even a few dollars into savings each month you’ll have some ‘padding’ if emergencies come up and if not, you’ll accrue a nice little nest egg over time.
  4. Grouping day-to-day living expenses helps you make sure all those things are covered and ensures you don’t forget anything.
  5. The red for these expenses indicates the types of expenses that are considered actual debt. You’ll notice the mortgage is grouped with the day-to-day expenses because we have to have a place to live, but it’s also a debt so I colored it red.
  6. Last, but not least, if there’s money left over after you budget your expenses, I would suggest moving most of it into savings, but I always keep a little bit in my miscellaneous category in case some small expense I haven’t budgeted for comes up.

I know this is really simple and a lot of you are light-years ahead of using this type of spending plan, but for anyone who struggles with budgeting, maybe something like this can help.

The other sheet I use is basically like a big check register. For our day-to-day expenses that are spent throughout the month, we tape this sheet to our calendar, and whenever we spend money from one of the categories, we put it on the sheet, subtract what we spent, and annotate the new balance. That way, we always know what we have left in any given category.

Spending Ledger https://reclaiminghope.blog

If your financial dimension of wellness isn’t where you’d like it to be, I’d encourage you to take a look at the resources I mentioned, as well as some of the ones mentioned by others in the comments, in the first post about financial wellness.

When my son was small, he and his little friends were fond of saying, “You’re not the boss of me!” Well, guess what – we ARE the boss of our money; we get to choose how to spend it. Deciding where it needs to go ahead of time helps us make sure IT knows we’re the boss.

Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share to help us stay on track toward financial wellness? Please tell us in the comments below!

Blessings,

~Terri

 

 

 

 

17 comments

  1. Terri, the sheets your shared will be helpful. I’ve used Quicken to track my spending and (a little) savings for at least a decade. My financial life is so simple with it. I enter planned expenses and my SS deposit ahead of time so I always know how much is in the bank and how little I have left at the end of the month. 😉

    1. Thanks for mentioning Quicken Ellie! I really like the reports you can print from Quicken. My problem is just putting everything in as I do it – I get behind and then it takes me forever to get caught up on my ledger.😁 It IS a helpful tool for keeping track of all your finances though. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I like the way you think. Your ideas are simply, clear and gets the job done. I bet it would be an eye opener if we did it for one month. The information is valuable.

    1. Thanks so much Barbara! I know it was certainly an eye opener when we first started keeping track of things. You don’t realize how much you spend without even thinking about it sometimes… Blessings to you!

  3. Brilliant idea and resources, Terri. Getting organised like this takes away some of the unknown element when it comes to money worries, letting us see exactly “what’s what” so we can see things more clearly and budget more easily. I also love that there’s a Financial Peace University, I want to go there! Heheh.
    Happy (slightly late…) Halloweeeeeen =]
    Caz xx

    1. Thanks so much Caz! Believe it or not, I kind of enjoy doing our budget each month, probably because I like the idea of making sure I’m telling our money where to go (part of that control issue we’ve talked about before 😁). It just really helps with peace of mind to know if something unexpected should occur, you’ve got it covered. Have a fabulous day!

  4. Great post. Similar to other disciplines in my life, I tend to well at budgeting when we are saving for something specific . But then quit tracking until I realize – oh no we are off track and now I need to see where we are spending money. Today is the first. I always weigh in on the 1st and commit to journaling my food but I never stick with it. Thank you for the gentle reminder about budgeting.

    1. Thanks so much Sarah! You make a great point about us needing to budget more than just our money. It’s easy to only track things once we have a problem, but staying on top of it (which is why I had to come up with something simple😁) can often prevent the problem in the first place. That really could apply to all those things you’re talking about. Thanks for the reminder! Have a wonderful day!

    1. Thanks so much Alyssa! Like you, I find it easier the older I get, but I’m not sure if it’s because I’m older, or just by now I’ve had a lot of practice at it ha ha! Hope things are going well for you sweet friend! Hugs!

      1. You are welcome! I do think with age, comes knowledge and the ability to prioritize things in life. Although it is true that practice makes perfect or at least makes it easier!!

  5. Dave Ramsey ideas changed my life for the better. Thank you so much for tackling such an important topic…….without a budget your money will do things we don’t want it to! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Wendi! The thing I love about Dave Ramsey is that he is just so down to earth. He doesn’t pull any punches, but he gives you practical advice for making sure you can live well and make an impact. Sending hugs your way!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.