Using Pen and Paper for Budgeting

Chances are you have seen numerous budgeting software that lets you track your spending. While I do love Mint.com, all of the other choices have fallen short for me. Add in the fact that they want me to PAY to track my SPENDING, I think I will stick to pen and paper.

This blog might seem obvious to you, but there are many people in need of serious budgeting help. If you are like me, creating a budget doesn’t come naturally. I am NOT a math person. I would rather watch paint dry than have to solve mathematical equations.

I wanted to give you a low down on how I set our budget, with a varied income. My husband has a fairly consistent income with a base pay. So, creating our budget with his income is quite simple. As a server and a freelance writer, my income varies greatly. I have really good months and low times. These are my simple steps for creating a budget with just pen and paper.

  1. Create a Total Income Assuming the Lowest Amounts: What is the lowest amount of money you typically bring in each month? This is the amount you should use to create your budget. If you use anything else, you will struggle each month.
  2. List Out Your Bills: In one column, write out your bills. In another column, write out your debt payments. If you have the space, it is a great idea to put your total debt owed along with the payments to give yourself motivation. Some people prefer to write out bills in order of “importance,” but I opt to do so based on payment deadlines.
  3. Check the Calendar: The day before payday, I take a look at my calendar. I keep deadlines for each bill in a planner. Look at the bills due during this pay period. It may be 5 or it could be 10. Either way, go down the list and pay each one accordingly.
  4. Subtract Budget for Groceries, Gas and Essentials: It is wise to create a budget for your groceries, gas and other essential items you purchase each payday. If you save for clothing or have a sinking fund, subtract that from your total after you pay bills.
  5. Budget Down to Zero: If you have extras left over, the fun comes! Maybe not the type of fun you were wanting. It is time to decide where these extras need to go. If you follow the Dave Ramsey plan and have your $1,000 emergency fund, the extra should be applied to debt. Only you can decide where to put the extra money, but don’t forget to give it a place! You control the money, not the opposite!

It can’t get more simple than this! There is no reason to spend extra money on budgeting software when you are totally capable of controlling your money.

If you typically overspend in areas such as groceries, it is time to start a cash envelope system. I will discuss this later, but everything that can be bought or paid for in cash should be. This simple method drastically decreases overspending.

I hope this is helpful for someone! While budgeting seems like a simple process to some, many are stumped as to where to start.

XOXO,

Bethany

How to Pay Down Debt Faster with a No Spend Month

 

Are you searching for extra money in your budget to throw towards debt? When your budget is tight, finding even an extra $20 can be a struggle. Or, you may feel lazy towards debt payoff and need to kick it into high gear.

There is no better way to beef up the debt snowball than to have a no spend month.

Wait, a no spend month?! Does that mean our family won’t spend money on anything?

No! That isn’t what a no spend month is at all. The concept is whatever you make it, but most people assign these typical rules to a no spend month.

no-spend-month

With all of the money we save, we will be able to make larger payments toward debts. Our primary goal this month is a remaining credit card that needs to go!

I am excited (and nervous) to start March! We are going to try to encourage the kids and tell them it is a game. I’m hoping the weather brightens up so we can spend extra time at the park and less time other places.

We do have other goals for our no spend month of March

  • Curb Our Spending Habits: After Christmas, it can be hard to stop the insane amount of purchasing. We are ready to be done!
  • Sell Unneeded Items: As I mentioned before, we hope to move this summer. Everyone knows that moving reveals just how many items you collected over the years. This month, I need to get rid of things. No items in and a lot out!
  • Trim Our Budget: I have had the same budget for months now. Sometimes, I feel as if we need a refresh button. I need to look at it with fresh eyes to see what needs change and what needs updated. This month, we will focus on changing and adapting our budget to meet the growing needs of our family.

Does a no spend month sound like a great idea for your family? Do you want to commit to paying off more debt in one month than usual? Join me! Post your updates on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #NoSpendMonthFGP

XOXO

Bethany

Introducing Our Family

DSC_7593.JPGHi y’all! I am so thankful that you stumbled upon my little blog. It is just in the beginning stages, but I have many wonderful plans. I hope you check out and see all the great ideas.

I want to introduce you to my family. My husband, Andrew, and I were married in 2012, after dating throughout high school, which was 10 years ago. That makes me feel old! Our youngest, Caelyn, was born in 2010. Our middle child, Brayden, came along in 2012, a few months prior to our wedding. Our third baby, Connor, is our sweet little rainbow baby. He joined our family in February 2016.

Aside from having three wonderful kids, our lives stay busy on a regular basis. We are a homeschooling family, a passion I love to discuss. Later, throughout the blog, we will talk about our homeschool plans and lessons. I garden throughout the spring and summer, focusing on preserving many of our foods.

Don’t worry; you are going to find out so much about our family before long. I can’t wait to jump into the most important topic of this blog: living on a budget.

Do you struggle to live on a budget? Is it as frustrating for you as it is for us? For us, 2017 is geared towards knocking down debt as we aim towards purchasing a new (to us) home this summer.

I don’t want to spill the beans too much. I have too many good tips to share. Check out soon; March is going to be a fun month!