This is a blog post about budgeting. WAIT! Please don’t go! This is one of my first blogs for Peach and Pine and I’m insecure. You would hate to make me feel bad about myself just because you think budgeting is boring, right??
I’ve always been a numbers guy – I loved math and science in school and was always really good at them both. I’ve played piano for over 20 years and I’m told there are a lot of correlations between music and math. So yes, I’m officially a numbers nerd. I feel like I’ve adapted alright to the real world. I think that adaptation best exemplifies itself in how I snagged myself a babe of a wife, and that’s where this budget story begins…
Even before Chandler and I got married, we had a lot of discussions about finances. We were told that finances were one of the main argument makers in a marriage, so we placed a lot of emphasis on developing a system of communication and openness in our finances. Maybe one day we’ll do a special post on budgeting for specific home projects, but for now I just wanted to share a couple of my favorite tips and tricks for general budgeting!
1. Live within your means. We’ll start with simple math that’s super hard for a lot of us to learn – If you make $X, you should not spend more than $X. A lot of people understand this concept, yet it can be really difficult to keep up with! Money is going a lot of different places at a lot of different times. How do you keep up with it all??? Just keep reading.
2. Write out your budget. Sit down with a nice cup of coffee or other preferred beverage and get ready for a little work. Start by writing down your monthly income at the top of the page. Then make line items of your necessary expenses – rent, utilities, insurance, food, etc. Add those expenses up and see what you have left. Then you can create line items to use the rest of your income from there – fuel, gym memberships, fun budget, etc. Its up to you to prioritize these, and when you’re out of income you’re out of income. That’s living within your means.
3. Find tools that work for you. For the longest time we relied completely on an excel spreadsheet I made in college to run our budget…and it worked great! Everyone works differently, so use a tool that makes sense for you. Maybe that’s a pen and paper, maybe that’s Excel or Numbers, or maybe it’s something else. There are a lot of tools out there for you to use. Let me tell you about the newest tool we’ve discovered!
Everydollar. *pause while I try to keep the numbers nerd in me from coming out in full force* Guys, this app though. Just go ahead and download it right now and you can thank me later. We’ve tried other budgeting apps and this blows them all out of the water. This app takes your written budget (you’ve already got one because I told you to do that, of course) and puts it in an electronic and accessible format. It has a great web interface where you can set up your expense folders, then you just enter your expenses throughout the month and you always know how much you have left to spend in your various categories. It’s super easy, and the app allows multiple phones to be linked to the same account, so it’s great if you’re sharing finances as well!
So that’s not too daunting right? It’s really pretty simple stuff! A lot of the principles we follow come from Dave Ramsey, who is another great resource for all things financial management (and the creator of Everydollar). We are still learning constantly about budgeting and making the most of what we have – I don’t think that will ever stop. What do you guys think? Do y’all have any budgeting tips or tools that you love?