May 9, 2012

A Budget A Day Keeps The Collectors Away! {Guest Post}

A while ago I put it out there on Twitter that I was looking for some budgeting tips for guest posts on my blog - I wanted to do a series about M-O-N-E-Y! Mandy from House of Rose answered the call. 

Thank you for being patient with me Mandy as I finally get it up here. :) Now I need to read an article on Time Management..... 

Please make her feel welcome! 

----------------------------------------------------------------

"A Budget A Day Keeps The Collectors Away" by Mandy


You may wonder why a mommy blogger like myself would want to talk money. No?

My passion is my kids and I truly enjoy writing about my crazy life with 3 boys, decorating, and DIY... but I have a background (and a hidden love) for all things finance. Maybe it's why I married a financial advisor/personal finance blogger. And perhaps it's why my husband and I have created a site called Dollars and Roses - showing YOU how we make money by blogging.

And let's be honest... kids, decorating, and DIY don't come free. To be able to spend money on the things I love I have to have some money discipline.

Today, the topic is budgeting. Tactical budgeting to be exact.

I know I know... budgeting is one of those words that makes us all want to puke in our mouth just a little. I get it.

Unfortunately, it's important and, in my opinion, is the key to keeping you from being in debt up to your eyeballs.

My husband and I don't have a detailed daily budget. We are not psycho about what we can or can not spend. We don't live our life miserably because we are so tied down to our budget that we refuse to do anything fun.

What we do have? An overall idea of our monthly expenses, including money that goes into our emergency fund, and an understanding of the difference between our "needs" and our "wants".

We are realistic. We are proactive. We are smart.

But we are not crazy. Crazy will land you in a deep dark place. Trust me, don't get crazy.

Instead get smart.

When it comes to your personal finances it is key to do the following 3 things:

1. Write Down your Monthly Expenses

I am talking about your FIXED monthly expenses. What are the bills that you pay every single month?

Remember, I am not asking you to write down EVERY single thing you buy like what you spend on eating out each month or how much you pay to get your nails done...unless of course you eat out every night and get your nails done twice a week... if so, we will need to have a serious chat.

Here is what your fixed expenses may look like:
- Mortgage/Rent
- Auto Loan
- Auto Insurance
- Other Insurance (Homeowners, health, disability, life, etc.)
- Cell Phone/Home Phone
- Internet
- Utilities (Electric, gas, water, trash)
- Satellite/Cable
- Credit Card Payments
- School Loans
- Emergency Fund 
 
2. Gather Information on Each Bill

This step shouldn't be that hard. All you need to do is list the amount of each bill you pay. A running monthly total of your fixed expenses. I prefer to use an excel spreadsheet. Don't worry, I'm not talking about some fancy calculations or excel code... I'm talking about a simple list. 

It could looks something like this:


The idea is to have a TOTAL amount of your fixed monthly expenses written down.

3. Give Each Expense the Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down


This is the step where you will really evaluate your monthly expenses and ask yourself two things:
- Is this bill a need or a want?
- If it's a need, how can we lower the cost? 
 
If you are struggling to pay your bills or to save for your kids college...it's time to do away with the extras.

Do you know many times I hear my people say, "I NEED {fill in the blank}". Yet, they can't even afford to pay their bills.

At my old job I use to help people plan for retirement. Time and time again people would come to me and say, "I need to take money out of my retirement account because my husband is buying a new truck...or my daughter needs it for her trip to Italy... or I need it for Christmas shopping... or {the list goes on}."

I can remember thinking how sorry these people were going to be 20 years from now. They were taking money that, later in life will be considered a "need", and spending it on an "in the moment" WANT.

Really buckle down and think about your needs and your wants. I'm not saying get rid of your cable because you don't need it. If it makes you happy and it's something you enjoy (and can afford) then keep it (remember, I said don't get crazy).

What I am saying is...reevaluate what you are paying for. Maybe you don't need HD channels? Maybe you can live without DVR/PVR? There are small things that you can tweak on each bill that can lower your monthly payment.

Obviously most people need a car. But, do you need an SUV that costs you over $700 each month? 

My guess is no.

You get the point.

If you have an overall idea of the money that is going out each month then you are more likely to spend within your means.

Tactical budgeting helps me not only stay within our means... but it also helps me to be a better mommy.

Why? Because I am not stressing out over how I am going to pay the next electric bill. I'm content knowing that, because I am AWARE of our expenses, I will spend within our limits.

Incorporate these 3 budgeting tips in to your money routine and keep yourself on the right track!

-------------------------------------------------

Thanks so very much Mandy!

Do you have a budgeting tips article or money saving ideas post you'd like me to share with my readers? If so, use the contact form in the tab above and let me know!

10 comments:

  1. great post... I have been doing this for years.

    ReplyDelete
  2. we budget as much as we can. Sometimes the needs greatly outweigh the wants

    ReplyDelete
  3. We have a fancy dancy spreadsheet that hubby created for budgeting purposes. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You basically just posted the way we run our family budget! It's the only way I can relax about the finances when I can see them on paper.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great Post Mandy! My wife and I do the monthly budget right now and it's such an easy and effective tool, that a lot of people don't think of doing.

    I started blogging because I love writing stories, especially about my family. The truth is, that I also had a mindset that it might be possible to make a little money out of it, or at least curb a few bills.

    Obviously I found out that it's harder than it looks and have since turned my attention to just enjoying the writing process. I figure the pieces will fall in place if they're meant to!

    I can't wait to check out Dollars & Roses!! Thanks for the post!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks so much for allowing me to guest post!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks so much for allowing me to guest post!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is SUCH a great post!!
    We budget as best we can...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good info. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  10. The steps to excellent financial management may look easy and simple but it isn't actually. It's difficult to monitor each and every one of the expenses while also weighing out the "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" items, as what you stated on your article. The best solution is to have a helping hand and a lot of motivation to continue your endeavor.

    ReplyDelete