Learning how to live on a budget doesn’t have to be complicated. If you have ever been on a diet to try to lose weight, you have done a budget. If you have ever managed your time, you have done a budget. Money really is no different.
When you are trying to lose weight, the goal is to become more intentional about how you eat and your physical activity. You’re essentially budgeting the fuel that you’re going to give your body to live and thrive.
When you are trying to manage your time to become more efficient or do more of the things you want to do in your life, the goal is to become more intentional about how you spend your time, so that you can fit in the things that bring you joy.
When you’re trying to manage your money, the goal is to become more intentional about how you spend your money, so that you can use your money for the things that you really value in your life. Those things could be traveling, giving to your favorite charity, buying a home, working less. You have to decide what is most valuable to you – then you have to direct your money there.
A budget is all about deciding ahead of time what’s important to you and then making sure that’s how your money is spent.
Here are some easy steps to get started budgeting. You will want to complete your budget each month before the month begins, then monitor it, along with your spending, throughout the month so you can stay on track.
(1) Decide how much income you will have each month. If your income is irregular, this can be an estimate or it can be the minimum amount that you have earned in a month in the past year or so. Include all sources of income, like rental income, alimony or child support, sales of things you own, etc. — any money you expect to receive in the coming month.
(2) Decide how you will spend each and every dollar that you have estimated in step 1. Assign every single dollar a spending category until you get to a balance of $0. As a simple example, if I expect to have $4000 in income next month, I might assign it like this:
- $1,000 Housing
- $500 Food and eating out
- $200 Utilities (electric, water, etc.)
- $200 Gasoline/transportation
- $100 Entertainment
- $300 Insurance
- $100 Gifts and cards
- $500 Savings and Investing
- $500 Tithing and giving
- $100 Clothing, Shoes, etc.
- $200 Personal care (hair, nails, cosmetics, personal hygiene, etc.)
- $300 Sinking fund (saving for big ticket items, replace car, etc.)
- Total Expenses = $4,000
If I add up all of my assigned category amounts for expenses and get to a number at the bottom that it is not equal to my estimated income, then I need to adjust how I have the income assigned until I get to the same number. So my income minus my expenses = $0
Jill heard God’s call to help other women repaint their own financial future and was eager to answer it. She left her corporate job and became a Financial Confidence Coach. Jill loves helping women give up shame around spending so that they can stop stressing about their money.
She helps strong generous women go from feeling weighed down by their finances to feeling in control so they can focus on being present with their family and building a life they love.