Welcome back to my budgeting series. In this post, I want to share the budgeting method that helped me pay off $5,000+ in credit card debt. I don’t want to mislead you all – so I will say this loud and clear. It took a lot of effort, research, and documentation to prepare for this budget. I had to look deep into our debt, our current bills & monetary responsibilities, & our income.
The Simple Method
The budgeting method I used combined a few different techniques together. I liked the concept of the debt snowball & the Dave Ramsey principles – but neither of those strategies fit my lifestyle. I often found when I would start a tight budget with strict rules, I failed. This is why I did a bit more research & searched the internet to find bits and pieces of different methods and combined them together.
Organize Your Finances
Before you can implement a budget you need to have your finances organized. Being organized could mean different things to different people. To me, organized finances mean you know your financial stance. You know the below things:
- Your total amount of debt.
- The monetary value of your financial responsibilities.
- All of your loans ($$ wise).
- Any IOU’s you have.
- Open credit card accounts.
- What bills are autopay and what bills you manually pay.
- Your monthly income.
- YOUR CREDIT SCORE & CREDIT FACTORS
Find out the above information and write it down. I personally found an old notebook and kept track of my budgeting journey each month. I would write out each month how much I owed on each loan – the amount of money I was saving – and the amount of money I had left to go. If you don’t have an old notebook, don’t sweat it – use a word document or scrap paper. There’s no need to spend money on a new notebook in order to write out your new budget! LOL
Have a Budget Goal
What are you wanting to do with your new budget? Are you trying to save up money? Pay off debt? Make a big purchase?
Being on a budget gets tiring – and all you want to do sometimes is spend some money. You need to have a strong why to keep you on track. It is important to determine your why before implementing the budget in your life so you have a clear picture of what will be the result of all your hard work.
About this Budget Method
This budget method contains three categories; Family, Grocery, and Other.
The Family category contains any and all bills / financial obligations your family has each month. This can include must pay bills or even certain services (think Netflix, Spotify, Gym Memberships, etc.) you are not willing to give up. Please note: Sometimes it is best to eliminate optional services in order to maximize your budget and have extra money to get to your goal. There is no cap to this category. The $$ amount of this category is determined by you and your existing bills.
The Grocery category contains anything that is consumable within the household. This can contain food/drinks, household items (cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, etc.), & toiletries. This category has a cap of money based on the size of your family. Each family member should increase this category by 100 dollars. For example, a 5 member household should be budgeting $500, & an 8 member household should be budgeting $800. The only exception to this rule is a 2 person household should be $300.
The Other category is literally everything else. This includes anything you want to spend your money on. It could be hair cuts, fast food, coffee shops, or even Target trips. The amount of money included in this category will be determined by yourself & will ultimately determine how much money you will have leftover to reach your budgeting goal.
Subtract the total of these three categories from your monthly income and this is how much money you have leftover to put toward your budgeting goal.
Implement the Budgeting Method
It was easiest for me to start at the beginning of a new month – so I began to prep for this budget about 2 weeks prior. I followed the steps above to prep my budget and make a game plan. I communicated our budget totals with my Fiancé and wrote down all of our monthly budget goals.
The most important piece of creating a budget is making sure it is realistic. The number one reason people tend to shy away from their budget is because it was too tight from the beginning. Give yourself grace, and take things slow. Start with a larger budget to get in the swing of budgeting and gradually tighten your budget each month.
Good luck, I believe in you.
Check out more tips and tricks from Kate’s Life.