Home Budget

Updated on July 29, 2010
B.T. asks from New Braunfels, TX
15 answers

Hey Mom's. I am a single full-time working mom and doing ok. However, I know that I can budget better. I know that this will sound stupid, but how do it do it? Are there any websites that you all have used to help with this? I want to put down on paper or computer where my expenses are going etc.... I know that this sounds stupid and I should know how to do this. Where do I go to get started? Thanks for all your suggestions.....you guys have always given me the best advice without making me feel dumb. :)

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Kansas City on

Both Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman have budget sheets on their websites that are easy to use. I like Suze's sheet a little better but Dave usually gives better (read: blunt) advice.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Houston on

I use something similar to Momof2girls...but I budget every paycheck in Excel. It helps me keep track of when major expenses need to go out (mortgage, daycare, car payment) and I can easily see where I can move something around.

I make a row across the top with the date of every pacheck. Next row is the gross amount of each check. Additional rows are any other income...child support, tax refunds, cash returns, expense reimbursements, balance from previous check, etc.

Then about 20 rows of different expenses. Fixed expenses first (mortgages, daycare, car). Utilities and other monthly variable next. Periodic last (home insurance, car maintenance, taxes, etc.)

I used simple sum/subtract formulas to keep track. It requires some dedication to keep it updated...but I find myself NOT making small transactions because I know that I'll have to record it...lol.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I have been using a simple Excel spreadsheet for YEARS!! I have my degree in Economics/Finance and worked in the field doing government finance for 4 years. Excel is something I live and die by :). I have seperate tabs for my pay, my husbands pay, and my husbands retiredment pay. I also have a totals tab. I have everything linked and in formul's so at this point all I have to do is enter a number. I have everything color coded as well. When I make a payment, I insert a comment with the details, if it is something I paid outside of web bill pay, which isn't much. I love this because I have literally YEARS worth of information in this Excel file. And I build my budget out about 18 months in advance. Of course it will change because our bills and income will change, but probably not by much. It allows me to see when we can take that vacation, when I need to start saving for birthday parties and Christmas, etc. Maybe I love it so much because it is MINE, but I do love it. I'd be more than happy to blank it out and email it to you if you want to try it. My sister was in horrible debt and I used it for her and she LOVES it also, but it took her a while to get used to it. I open it every single day too. It's just nice and easy to work with...I have not tried the websites though and they sound helpful too. Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

I am just starting to use mint.com I REALLY like it but they haven't got all the kinks worked out. Even so I am able to track everything way better than using excel or quicken. Just my expereince, (I can handle the internet but not office software:)! The thing about the site is you link it to your bank and credit cards and it automatically updates! So the only input you do is cash ones. And it categorizes it for you, like you buy something at the grocery store and it puts it under groceries. Of course, you might buy shampoo at the grocery store but it is easy to transfer the $5 shampoo to toiletries. I tried to do the cash only thing and attempted to use excel but those really didn't work for me and mint is working great so far! Not to say there is no other way I am just really excited about mint and I have been telling all of my family about it too! Good Budgeting!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

First I want to let you know that MOST people are not knowledgeable about their finances, budgets, savings, basically anything to do with money. And 2nd everyone could do a better job in one or more areas of their finances. I say this because I have been in the mortgage business for 20 years & have seen everything from Dr.'s that have over $100,000 in credit card debt & no money in savings to people that have made $30,000 a year & at the same job for 20 yrs & have no debt & a nearly paid off home. You definately are not stupid at all & good for you for asking such an important question.

I am not computer saavy at all so the easiest, quickest & most reliable budgeting tracker is Quicken. I do HIGHLY stress looking into taking a Dave Ramsey class or getting his book, you can take his class online too. A lot of churches offer these classes & provide babysitting too. But again I cannot stress how wonderful this class/books can be. His classes are not just about budgeting but about all aspects of money from buying or selling a home, to purchasing furniture, credit repair, insurance for homes, cars, purchasing a car, college savings, emergency fund savings, etc. And he provides budgeting forms too. Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

go to dave ramsey website you can see his budget forms from his book

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Florence on

We use Dave Ramsey's forms and he a few great books as well. Please check out his website.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

check out mint.com it is neat. My husband was just showing it to me and it gives you reminders and alerts!


answers from Houston on

We love Dave Ramsey because you can get on there and put down what you make and see how to have a reasonable budget and save money. So I think that his stuff might help a lot. Another thing I just found is this thing called E-mealz. It is a program that organizes your shopping for you. A family of up to 6 can use it. For two people all the food is around $35. For 4-6 it is around $70. I just started using it and I really like not having to think about what I need to buy. You get 7 days of meals, the recipe, and a grocery list. You can choose what store you want your program for as well. Anyway, that might help you economize and save you some time as well!



answers from San Francisco on

Microsoft Excel has budget templates. I think MSN Money has lots of free articles. I took a course called Freed Up Financial Living (based on Christian principles). They have online resources also.

Oh, and "All Your Worth" is a useful book to make you think about expenses. See if you can find it in your library.



answers from Erie on

I Feel the exact same way!! This should be so easy, but i just Don't get it. I read a few of these posts and thought i was reading a different language, I have no idea how to use excell.
My husband deals with all our bills etc so i haven't been forced to do this,
Just a suggtion that i haven't personally tried, I love flylady.net and i know at one point she had a little free program that she called FACE your finances, it was an ancronym for somethign, you might want to check it out everything she does and is involved in is super easy for people who don't naturally know how to keep a budget or clean a house.

my other suggestion is to keep a notebook in your purse and write down every cent of money that you have spent each day and at bedtime write down the totals in some broad catagories, groceries, clothing, car etc.
Good luck,I'd love to hear what you think of the things you end up trying.



answers from Los Angeles on

Check your bank's website - some of them have great budgeting tools that can be linked to your accounts (Bank of America has one).
Best regards -



answers from Harrisburg on

Paper version if you're not computer saavy: Write down your income (any money you get from job, child support, tips, whatever) Next to it, write down your FIXED expenses (utility, phone, loans, insurance, childcare, etc) Beneath that write down your variable expenses (food, clothing, etc). Add up the expenses and subtract from your income. Budget based on when you get paid (monthly, biweekly, semi, etc). If you have Excel, plug those numbers into it and let it calculate it for you. Create a new worksheet for each month/pay cycle. Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

We love using Quicken to track our expenses. It will graph where you are spending your money. Once we were able to see exactly where we were spending our money then the changes were much easier. We have been using Quicken for about ten years and it has helped us immensely. I remember being shocked at seeing where some of our money was going in the beginning. We thought we were doing pretty good, but all those teeny purchases added up pretty quickly.



answers from New York on

A budget is basically a list of anticipated income and expenses for a set period of time, making sure the income is larger than expenses. As time goes by track your income and expenses to make sure you're staying within your limits.

If you're an excel user, it's a great way to track everything. I hate the standard templates they have, make your own. I've also heard Quicken is very good. Good old paper and pencil also works.

Start by writing down all your monthly income, wages, child support, gov't benefits, etc. Now write down all your expenses, start with the monthly ones that are fixed like rent/mortgage, car payment, electric, phone, cable, credit card payments, insurance, also include amounts put into savings. Then do your weekly expenses like child care, gas, groceries, remember to take the weekly amount multiply by 52 and divide by 12 (many people just do 4 weeks). Next your annual or misc expenses, like haircuts, medication, clothing, dinner out, movies, doctor's visits, charitable contributions, gifts, Christmas. The last is what I call misc., that's the $10 you keep a week your wallet.

Now the hard part. For 2 or 3 months keep track of every penny you spend. Absolutely everything, a morning cup of coffee, a pack of gum at the convenience store, groceries, gas. This way you'll truely see where all your money is going. Most people are very surprised to see where it all goes, and all those little extras we seem to forget about.

Good luck.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions