In the past month and a half we have made some real progress in our Dave Ramsey Baby Steps. I am so proud of my husband and I, we are currently working our way through baby step #2. Yes it is tax refund time so that helped us make some head way. But the old us would have gone out and used the money to buy stuff and instead we were responsible and paid a few things off and used some to build our back patio cover and help fund our Vegas trip that was planned pre Dave Ramsey. I know that we were only able to make these strides because we have been following a budget. Following a budget has helped us meet all of our February financial goals as well.
Update on my February financial goals…
- DO NOT TOUCH $1000 EMERGENCY FUND- Still in there!
- Pay off Kohls card- $200 owed
- Put $333 towards Lowes Balance
- File Taxes-
- Switch my Life Insurance policy… Saves $12 monthly for the same coverage… zanderins.com
- Add $200 more to my Vegas Vacation Fund! (This trip was planned before we started the Baby Step program)
- If our tax refund hits in the month of February distribute to our debt snowball- should have it 2/11
- Create a will
Fast Food Free February is going good. It’s the 20th and we have only had fast food twice. I know, I know it was supposed to be fast food free your thinking… Well it didn’t work out like I thought, but we have done good. Normally at this point in the month we would have had fast food at least 6 times so 2 is pretty good! One thing that has helped us not eat fast food is I didn’t budget for it. So if we do get fast food it has to come from our grocery budget… That isn’t fun because then that money doesn’t go as far.
My Tips For Successful Budgeting… From my own experiences
- Go over your last 2 months bank statements and analyze your spending.
- Break your spending up into categories for those 2 months, ex.- groceries, utilities, entertainment, eating out, household items… This will help you get an idea of EXACTLY where your money is going and when you go to create your budget you wont be just making up numbers. If you try to budget without an idea of your real spending you are pretty much setting yourself up for failure. TRUST ME… I made this mistake in the past and it is why I didn’t like to follow a budget.
- Use a cash envelope system for any categories within your budget if you can. This will help make sure you stay on budget in each category
- Make sure you leave some entertainment money. I’m not talking a lot, what ever you think fits into your goals and budget. This has helped us when we wanted to take the family to go do something. An example, for us in February we budgeted $100. It allowed my husband and I to go out on a date and we hadn’t originally budgeted for it but needed it.
- At the beginning of the month try to make a list of household items you know you’ll need and try to budget around that. Some months you may need to spend more than others.
- Allow some “blow” money. This is money that you can spend how you see fit. A latte, craft supplies you realized you had to have 🙂 Guilt free spending basically.
- If you have a partner it is mandatory that the budget is a team effort. If it isn’t then you are going to be less likely to succeed at it.
- Look into the next few months and write down any extra expenses you might have. This will help you save for them beforehand.
- Let your good friends and family know what you are working on. My best friends and family know and they help support us and cheer us on.
I have learned through trial and error that even with a zero dollar budget you must have some wiggle room and this is given to me through “blow” money and entertainment money. We don’t have a lot of money in these areas but enough so that my husband and I don’t feel like we can’t have any fun on a budget. Doing our budget together has helped our relationship. I use to do the money by myself and my husband would have to ask me before spending money. I’m his wife not his mama, I don’t want him asking me for something and then I have to turn around and tell him no. I would always feel like the bad guy. Now we are functioning more as a team in this area and I love it.
I highly recommend a zero dollar budget, meaning every dollar that comes into your checking account is given a name and a place to go! It has been very freeing. I use Dave Ramsey’s Software and I love it and highly recommend it. It’s only about $18 and you can download it right to your computer. Super quick! Here are some screen shots of the software program so you can get a feel for it.