Starting a budget is not easy. But take faith in the fact that after the first few months it does get better/easier!
Our marriage changed when I finally jumped on board with our finances. One day it finally clicked that the sooner we paid off debt, the sooner we could buy a house! I realized that I could save our family money by living within a budget and living frugally. Thus, in a way, I could generate income for our family. Income “saved” rather than spent if that makes sense. For example, if we were to normally spend $500 a month on groceries, but instead I was able to only spend $200 on groceries for that month, I would have earned us $300!
Go on a finance date with your spouse! Not even kidding. Get a babysitter, make a business room reservation at a restaurant, pack notepads and laptops and go out! I really love doing these types of dates, it feels like my husband and I are so official when we walk into the business room at restaurants. Like we own a business together. Actually, we do own a business together, it’s called our family!
Write out your goals, your vision, your whys. Count your monthly income first and then figure out where all your money has been going. Having a category for everything is very important. Placing your spending into categories will also set the foundation for your cash envelopes.
I personally recommend setting an extremely tight budget the first month, to see what is possible and what is not, and then adjust every month after, like if you run out of food budget after 2 weeks, obviously you’ll definitely need to adjust your food budget.
I find it personally very rewarding and challenging to scrunch our budget as much as possible! Remember, this is how I earn/save my family money. I treat it like my job, I take it very seriously.
If you need a place to start you can look at our google sheets and explanation below to get an idea of what our budget and categories look like. We like to use google sheets because we can both access this from anywhere and from any device. The next post will be about using cash! But hopefully, this gives you a start!
$200-$300 Food– Grocery store bought food only (eating out goes in entertainment)
$100 Household – Toilet Paper, Diapers, Wipes, Paper Towels, large garbage bags, ziplocks, tin foil, cleaning products, furniture, decor, etc.
$100 Entertainment – Date nights, eating out, babysitter, theater, movie rentals, movie subscriptions, music subscriptions, etc.
$20 Gifts – Gifts for friends or family, giving is so important!
$50 Slush Ed – anything he wants, clothes, shoes, etc.
$50 Slush Brit – anything I want, makeup, clothes, accessories, shoes, hair cut, etc.
$50 Kids – clothes, shoes, toys, etc
$50 Healthcare – medicine, co-pays, first aid
$140-200 Automotive – gas
$110 Gym – Ed and my membership
$_ _ _ Rent
$_ _ _Utilities
$_ _ _Tithing