Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Let's Talk: Budget 101

Adulting is hard! Especially when it comes to financial responsibility. They don't teach you this stuff in high school which they totally should. I mean it's important to know how to apply for a loan, what makes up a credit score, and how to budget. Through trial and error Zack and I have finally figured out a budget that works for us.

Tip #1: Read Dave Ramsey. We love his program and it helped us get out of debt and make the mindset to stay out of debt so we don't accrue new debt over time. I love the baby steps program. The book Total Money Makeover is the one that I started off with and it really gives you some insight into your finances. The jest of it all is you want to control your money, not the other way around.
Tip #2: Grab a notebook and make a list of all your monthly expenses. This includes all bills, vacations that will come up in the month, food and gas. Make sure your four walls are covered: housing, transportation, food, and clothing. After that add in all other expenses. Here is our list of May monthly expenses:
-Electricity Bill
-Questar Gas
-Comcast (internet only no cable to save money)
-Student Loan Payment (blah if you can get through school without going into debt do it!)
-Zack's Credit Card (we just pay it off monthly so we don't have to worry about new debt)
-Zack Gas
-Caitlin Gas
-Car Insurance
-Camping trip to goblin valley
-Zack's Birthday
-Zack personal money
-Caitlin personal money

Tip #3: After you make your list (make sure and include everything) write out the amount of each expense next to that category that you'll spend during the month. For example for food I budget $400.00 for the entire month. For Zack Gas I budget $120.00 and for my Gas I budget $40.00.

Tip #4: Next you will decide which bills you will need to pay during each pay period you have. Zack get's paid weekly so I split everything up weekly. The first week is Rent, Tithing, Questar Gas, and Zack Gas, Food. The second week is: Rent, Student Loan Payment, Zack Gas, Food, Tithing, Netflix/hulu. The third week is: Food, Zack gas, tithing, zack's birthday (this month only), camping trip to goblin valley. Fourth week is, Food, Zack Gas, Caitlin gas, tithing, Zack Personal, Caitlin personal, verizon, comcast, electricity, car insurance, and Zack cc. I think that is everything.
If you noticed I split rent up into two weeks, this makes it easier on finances and our landlord always deposits our rent check the second week of the month. During the first week I just set that money aside so it doesn't get spent and then we have it when rent is due.

Tip #5: Once you have your budget set and all the expenses that are coming out of that pay period anything extra goes to savings or other expenses that will come up later like car registration. We usually save $400.00 for car registration expenses every year. We save $500.00 for Christmas. This year we are saving $3000.00 for the end of the year because we might be going to disney world. So basically any extra after all these expenses are taken care of you can split up into these different categories that you might have. These categories are called sinking funds and they are an entire blog post discussion on it's own that I will be doing later.

I hope that made sense without showing you all of our numbers. I don't know I just feel weird putting out there how much we make and spend in each category but perhaps this will give you an idea of how you can set up a budget. This is what has worked for us and it may not work for you but I find a budget to be completely necessary otherwise I'll just consider all of the money personal money which isn't good.

Anyway thanks for reading


  1. Great ideas, Caitlin! Also, very important to put some untouchable money aside for retirement! The sooner, the better!

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