19 answers

Budget - Cleveland,TX

Me and my husband are wanting to start a budget, can anymore gived me some advice
Thank you

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I agree also, Dave Ramsey has an excellent budget form. Very thorough and helpful. It is work, but it works!!

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the post regarding Dave Ramsey. It is easy to do the budget. Hard to stick to but you see results very quickly as far as paying things off.

1 mom found this helpful

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daveramsey.com is the best on this topic

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with the post regarding Dave Ramsey. It is easy to do the budget. Hard to stick to but you see results very quickly as far as paying things off.

1 mom found this helpful

The Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover. Read the book! It will change your life!

1 mom found this helpful

One of the best websites that I know of for budgeting and money management is www.daveramsey.com.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree also, Dave Ramsey has an excellent budget form. Very thorough and helpful. It is work, but it works!!

1 mom found this helpful

I know the first step I took in making a budget was I actually just wrote down what I spent money on over a month. I continued spending the way I normally do and would take my receipts and such at the end of the week and figure out how much was for gas, food, fast food, rent, bills, etc. Then at the end of the month you have a good idea of how much your spending already on things. I think a lot of people think they have a good idea, but really don't realize how much they are actually spending on non-essential items.

After I did that I went through and figured out what things I cannot change (i.e. my rent will stay the same unless I move, my cable bill will be around the same each month, etc. Gas was one area I didn't do this in and had to go back and change. You will drive roughly the same amount each month whether you try to cut back or not, so if you currently spend around 300-400 then you better keep it at that). Then I figured out where I could somewhat save money (i.e. I may be able to save SOME money by clipping coupons before going shopping. I would try to keep the budget the same as what I was currently spending minus 20-30 dollars). Then I looked at where I could drastically cut back. (for me this was fast food and stopping at gas stations to get sodas and stuff. I ended up averaging something insane like 200 dollars a month in these expenses, which is money I could've been saving). Whatever you do don't immediately cut out things cause it'll probably be hard to do if it is something your used to, just cut back. Then you follow this budget for a month, keep track of your expenses each week again in your various categories. At the end of the month, make adjustments again (so lets say you cut fast food, but this in turn upped your grocery bill, for example, then you would adjust these two categories again). Eventually, you get something you can work with.

Oh and always include random categories, like you may not have to do maintenance on your car every month, but do it every three months, so if you know it costs 50 dollars to do whatever, then budget 15-20 each month for car expenses, even if you don't spend it that month. I did the same thing with like clothes cause I don't buy clothes every month, but when I do buy clothes may spend 150, so I budgeted it out over a series of months. That way when it is time for you to spend that money, the money is there being saved for that time period.

ADDED: Oh and once you get the budget and stuff set up, you should start following Dave Ramsey's thing to pay off debt. I pretty much learned that I can save about 300 a month once I drop out credit card bills alone and closer to 600 when I add my car to that. I'm starting his snow balling thing already.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with everyone who mentioned Dave Ramsey. He completely changed our lives. What I haven't seen mentioned (I didn't read all of them) is that he also has a great radio show (you can listen on his website). I love his radio show because it keeps my husband and I inspired to keep it up. We got the audio version of the Total Money Makeover. It was a better option for us because we don't have lots of time to read, but my husband has a half hour commute to and from work so he spent that time listening. He liked it so much, he listened to it twice! I would listen to it when in the car or during my children's nap time while folding laundry or something.
Wish you the best of luck :)

Hurray for you! I also give Dave Ramsey a big thumbs up. Just keep reminding yourselves that a budget is not a bad thing that is going to keep you from having any fun. You can always budget in soe fun stuff. A budget is basically a tool that will let you decide ahead of time (hopefully together) how you will spend you money each month. With a plan, it is amazing how freeing it is. For example, no guilt in going out to eat if it is in the plan. If you really want to do something that you can't afford this month, you just learn to plan ahead and save for it down the line.

Making a budget is really easy. Just wrote down how much comes in and how much needs to go out every month. This includes credit card payments, rent, car, groceries. You get it.

Sticking to a budget is another matter entirely and that is where most people mess up. They either have unrealistic expectations about what they can spend or just don't keep track adequately.

There are plenty of budget plans out there, just pick one and go with it.

I would by the deluxe version of Quicken. You will be able to setup your budget and run reports once you figure everything out.

First, if you can, you need to figure out what you have spent in the last year. This will let you know where you spent most of your money. It will let you determine what areas you might need to spend less. If you do not have this info, it is ok.

Next, I would find se type of budget sheet. This will give you a guide on how much you should spend in each category. Use this worksheet as a guide.

If you know Microsoft excel well, I would use this to figure everything out. It makes it easier to make adjustments and recalc everything in those first few months when you are trying to figure out everything.

I would suggest to check out Dave Ramsey's books, Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace. They helped us in getting a budget, planning for college and retirement and getting out of debt.

Good luck!

You do not need to spend money to make a budget. I like mint.com a lot, it tracks your spending and sends you alerts when you are close to your limits. Also I watch size orman for down to earth advice about spending, getting out of debt, etc.

My husband and I set a budget for ourselves and it took us almost a year to get used to it. Its really hard to go from spending however you want (or in our case spending without keeping track) to having a budget to follow. We tried a cash budget where we alotted a certain amount for things but that didnt work for us. Now we put a large chunk of our paychecks into savings and made a stricter budge for gas and groceries. When we need to get things done like hair cuts, oil changes, present purchases, we take money out of savings. For some reason taking money out of savings keeps us on track more than setting up a special budget for those things. We tried a lot of different kinds of budgeting but this is what works best for us. It makes us aware of what we are pulling money out of savings for, and also helps us save more money that we thought we could. Best of luck!

We have been using a computer program called Budget and it has turned our finances around. It takes a little bit of time getting it going and fully functioning but it is wonderful. It uses and envelope system where you fill up the envelopes during the month with the amount of money needed for each bill. We also have envelopes to save for vacations or entertainment. We also have our own personal gift money segregated in envelops for easy access. It is a great program. Good luck getting on a budget.

Here it is for MACs
http://www.snowmintcs.com/products/budgetmac/index.php

You might be able to look around and find it for PC too if that is what you need. I know my sister uses it on her PC and so it is out there. I just don't know where.

My husband and I did, Dave Ramseys class Financeial Peace University. The class was awesome!!!!!!!!

Dave Ramsey. It will be at your local library. No need to buy any of his books. Total money makeover is a great place to start.

The only information u need is www.daveramsey.com and look up his financial peace university. My husband and I along with several family members and friends are working his program and have paid off quite a bit of debt and actually have money for everything. He likes to say "Know where ur money is going and make it behave." We haven't asked "Where did our paycheck go" in a long time. By following his plan my husband and I will be completely out of debt with the exception of our house in the next 2 months. And we'll have our house paid off in 7 years. Haven't even been there a year yet and have almost 200k left to pay. His plan works.

Yes, it seems as though Dave Ramsey has become a cult leader. . . but he KNOWS what he's doing, he shares his knowledge, and knowledge is POWER.

We took Financial Peace University last fall, and if all goes as planned, we will be debt free by the end of Spring/beginning of Summer.

If you can't make it to a class, I understand that The Total Money Makeover is a really good book from his collection.

Better than I deserve,
M.

Start simple! My husband and I started doing this a while ago and as long as we set simple, obtainable goals it works for us.
The first thing we did was set out all of our bills and then figure out how much we HAD to have to pay those. We were shocked at how much we spent on coffee, donuts and dinner out! Then we decided to set an amount for that, everyweek I pull that money out and we use cash only for those. When its gone, its gone.... We also kept our accounts open, but cut up the cards.

Then we set small goals, paying off a loan (1500) then using that extra to put towards another bill. In the last 3 years we have paid off 7k loans, 4 credit cards, 2 car loans. this includes dealing with life happenings of having a child and paying 5k in fertility treatments, buying a new washing machine, moving into a bigger place etc...... we just set small goals. And we did not pay the highest, most interest ones first.... those were not obtainable to us.... we needed to see results quickly and often to help keep us encouraged. But now we are able to more than double the minimmum on those accounts.

I also made a board that went into our kitchen. and every month when I paid down the balance on something I crossed it off. That way we could visually see what we were doing. BTW we dont make alot.... last year we made under 50k. Its not about the money coming in but how you let it go out.
Best of luck!

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