Did you miss Budget BFF Part I? Remember, garbage in leads to garbage out. Get the skinny on preparing for a fabulous budget relationship.
Create the Budget
Think of your budget BFF as the guardrails lining the road to financial maturity and ultimately freedom. Each month requires a new budget. Set it up once, and you can easily adjust each subsequent budget. A good budget can be your personal cheering squad encouraging you to take one more step.
Remember, I’m old school so I create my budget with Excel. In Budget BFF Part I, I explored some new millennium alternatives. I like to keep my budget worksheet simple, organized, and on one sheet. There are three mandatory sections: Income, Fixed Expenses, and Variable Expenses.
Include anything in the income section that brings dollars into your household budget. The budget won’t judge you…so add it in. Fixed expenses are monthly outflows that do not change. You can expect each month to pay rent or mortgage, car note, insurance, etc. In this section, include only minimum payments for any installment loans.
Variable expenses are patches of quick sand lurking to bust your budget. Groceries, transportation costs, and clothing are examples of variable expenses that can be harder to manage. Plug in your totals from the tracking exercise. Adjust the totals up or down for reasonable allotments. The goal is not to starve yourself financially, but to create a comfortable fit from which you can manage your household expenses.
Now that you have your budget allotments set, you will have one of two scenarios. Either you have an excess or you are running your household like the federal government – deficit spending. Either way, knowing is half the battle. I post my monthly budget worksheets on the fridge for household buy in. Everyone can see the monthly budget and participate in maintaining a fiscally responsible household.