How to Never Go Over Your Budget

7:22 PM

it isn't what you earn but how you spend it that fixes your class

Darlings, let me first apologize for my absence. There's no excuse, rather that I found my time wandering off to things (i.e, watching Gotham on Netflix for hours on good, seriously recommend you check it out. You have been warned, it is prone to #bingewatching). If you may give me one little ounce of grace, it is simply that finding balance for blogging is difficult. (Can my fellow lady bloggers raise their hands?)

I also spent the last two weeks recommitting myself to things that had fallen off my list of priority (i.e, started a new devotional called My Utmost For His Highest and picked up several new interval workouts). I'm back now and fresh with bright ideas although the weather has not been spectacularly helpful (#HurricaneJoaquin).

In the end, it comes down to this. I want to make sure this blog is a product of passion and inspiration.  And my loves, this one thing I do promise to you. I will only write content that comes from true and honest inspiration. From the bottom of my heart. xo

How to Never Go Over Your Budget  

To my darlings in college and my ladies with full-time jobs. How do you manage your money? 

Now that I'm spending a lot of time making money, I've found myself becoming more hesitant to use it, simply because it's hard-earned money. I also wanted to be responsible, let go of my materialistic tendencies, and focus on the bigger picture. I wanted my use of money to fully reflect the presence of Christ in my life. This meant taking the idea of a budget much more seriously.

I took to Dave Ramsey for his prowess in the financial field. Dave Ramsey is very conservative in giving tips for managing your money. But, I like conservative. I wanted budgeting to be about using my money for a greater purpose but also leaving flexibility to do the things I enjoy while being responsible.

I've been using Dave Ramsey's Envelope Method for a month now and am proud to say I have maintained my budget with lots of room left! (I also started this budget only after I'd saved $1,000 for my emergency fund. Check out Dave Ramsey's Guide to Budgeting for an explanation of that reference.)

In summary, the "envelope method" is using envelopes to store the cash you plan to use and only using that cash. I wanted to be able to carry my envelopes around with me everywhere but wasn't comfortable with carrying that much cash so I printed out play money. Let me take you through my steps.

1. Determine your spending categories and reasonable spending percentages. 

I don't have many expenses. This makes budgeting extremely easy and I divided it up into 8 different categories. If you have more expenses, you can use this sheet to determine percentages for your category. My biggest expenses go towards rent and paying off my car so I played around with my percentages till I got values I was comfortable with. 

2. Create Your Envelopes and put your cash in them

Dave Ramsey has envelopes for the envelope method but I made my own. 

On the back of each envelope I have a table that looks like the following:

When I get paid, I allot my income into the different category envelopes according to the percentages I assigned them. As of right now, I determine my spending bi-weekly. You can choose to do this weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.  

Here's an example of how I fill out the table: 

Date: 10/6 ; Expense: Gas money; Payment: $20; Deposit: $0; Balance: $400

3. If using "play money" carry your envelopes with you everywhere. Record your purchases right after you make them or the day of. 

If you're a gal and you have a purse this is extremely easy to do. This particular step really helps me keep accountable. I use my debit card for all purchases. The envelope method using play money is a way to trick my mind into thinking I'm using hard cash. 

Believe it or not, it works. If I pay $20 at the gas station with my debit card, I take out the $20 play money from my "transportation" envelope and record it. I can clearly see my transportation balance right in front of my eyes and even feel the thickness or the thinness of my envelope. 

If I'm in a situation where I can't pull out my envelopes right there, I log into my online bank account and record the purchases I made that day. 

I've only been using this for a month but I can already see a big difference in the way that I make my purchasing decisions. I've talked myself out of eating out, buying a dress, and even getting the new iPhone. I think budgeting is extremely important not only for being responsible but also teaching yourself self-control and I'm enjoying every minute of it! 

Do you budget? And if so, what do you do? 

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