“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” Dave Ramsey
As I said in my introduction, I have not always been the best steward of the resources I have been blessed with. While I was not going insane with trying to keep up with the proverbial Joneses, I was not keeping very good tabs on where my money was going, either. I was introduced to Dave Ramsey in late 2017 when I was scanning the channel listing on Sirius XM looking for something motivational to listen to. Little did I know my search would lead me to starting this blog!
One of the things Dave Ramsey teaches through his Baby Steps program is starting and, more importantly, sticking to a budget. I wrote my very first budget in my life (gulp!) in February 2018. I wrote down every single thing I was spending my money on. Once I got over the shame of it all, I got to work finding what I could eliminate. By the time I got finished I was able to cut a TON of wasteful spending that was doing absolutely NOTHING to help the Hubs and me accomplish our financial goals.
There are several resources that can be accessed online for free or minimal cost to help with writing a budget: (Insert necessary disclaimer here-I am not a paid endorser of any of the products listed. I am also not a certified financial planner and use of any of these products is at your own risk. Pesky lawyers…😊)
Every Dollar is a product of Ramsey Solutions. It is both PC and App based. The free version helps you set up your budget using pre-set categories but also gives you the option of setting up your own. The fee-based version of Every Dollar connects to your bank account to help you keep track in real time. Details of how the security of your data is ensured can be found here.
YNAB is an acronym for, wait for it, You Need A Budget! YNAB offers a free 34-day trial, after which an annual fee of $83.99 is charged. YNAB is both PC based and App based. YNAB connects to your banking institutions and one of the features of this one I especially like is the Goal Tracking. Security policy is found here.
Mint is a product of Intuit, the same company that brings us Quicken and Turbo Tax. It is a free product to download and use. It is also PC based as well as App based. Mint connects to your financial institutions (banks/credit unions, credit cards, etc.) to track your spending and suggests ways to help you save. They also ensure that your data is secure. Details of their security are found here.
I was not familiar with Pocket Guard but it was in a search I did so I thought I’d include it here to let you know it was out there. The list of Pocket Guard features is listed here. Details of their security are found here.
For those of us who are not wanting to deal with technology when budgeting, there’s the good, old-fashioned pencil & paper method, too. I really didn’t want to have my information in the cloud so I keep my budget on a spreadsheet. It’s easily updated and easy for the Hubs and me to refer to when we have our monthly budget meeting. Yes, that’s necessary, too. For a long time I was solely responsible for the bill paying but it’s been a blessing to involve the Hubs in the process. I still do the actual bill paying but we talk regularly and do not commit our resources to anything without discussing it first. This, I think, is key. Life has been MUCH easier sharing this process with my spouse, and it helps that he knows what is going on, too.
Now, a little homework for y’all. Do you have a written budget that you follow monthly? If so, please share in the comments what method you’re using and how it is working for you. If you don’t currently have a written budget, I challenge you to start one. Look at it as a road map rather than as handcuffs. If you are married or in a committed relationship, your partner should be involved in the process. Communication is key!! Keep in touch and let me know how it’s going. I promise I’ll do the same.
Be well and God Bless…until we meet again.