Grab budgeting tips and learn how to make a budget for beginners – this Paperless Budget System uses a Household Budget Template and features Online Budget Organization. Great paperless ideas!
If you get the Lamberts Lately Newsletter in your email each week, you probably know that I like to feature a few older posts at the bottom that kind of line up with the time of year. Last week, I thought about featuring my old How I Make Our Household Budget post…but, upon quickly reading through it, I realized it was incredibly out of date! So how about we update that today?
For the past couple of years, I’ve had a pretty consistent way I both set and manage our budget each month. It has totally changed the way we manage our daily spending (for the better)! I feel like this method has really helped me gain a grasp on a) how much we really spend every month and b) how I can minimize our spending. There’s really no telling how much we’ve saved by using this management method.
Let’s get to it! And one note – every place in the graphics with a gray box is an area that’s been edited out for privacy reasons. No, sorry guys, I’m not putting anything that private on the internet. 🙂 Any numbers used in this post are just for demonstration purposes and don’t really reflect on how much we spend/earn.
Step 1: Sign up over at Mint.com.
This is something I’ve really just been doing for the past 6 months or so, but it has made a massive difference in how effective my budgeting is.
This is just an example of what my “Transactions” page in Mint looks like. As those transactions come in, I make sure they’re labeled in the right category (Mint makes its best guess, but they are often mislabeled). I usually do this once or twice a week. If a single transaction needs to go in two different categories (like that Walmart trip that goes under groceries and gifts, for example), that’s easy to do: just click on the transaction, click “split,” and put in what categories are included and how much goes into each one.
Whenever something is red, I deduct the overage from the Misc Expenses account and add to the red category until it is yellow. This is also something to pay attention to – if you see that you’re consistently going over budget in a category month after month, it might be time to reevaluate that area and either reduce spending or up your amount.
Finally, on the last day of the month, I sit down and take a good long look at what went well and what didn’t go so well in the budget that month. If I need to adjust budget amounts for next month, this is when I determine it. I also look at what expenses we might have coming up (and any extra income) and add those in as I do the budget at the end of the month. The last day of the month is always my reflection day for the next month’s budget. That way, I can start fresh the next day!
And there you have it! It might take a few trial run months to really nail down the best way to manage your monthly budget through Mint, but I promise…if we can do it with our crazy variable income and expenses, you can do it too! It maybe takes me 30-45 minutes of work a week to really manage our monthly income and expenses. Plus, this method comes in so handy around tax time…it’s so nice to have everything neatly labeled in one place! Enjoy your budgeting…if that’s possible! 🙂
See more about my paperless home organization method here!
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