I’ve written a lot about budgeting. That probably doesn’t surprise you.
Budgeting goes hand-in-hand with any financial goal. Digging yourself out of six figures of debt without a budget would be ridiculous.
I often have readers ask about the way we budget. Sometimes it’s specific questions about our method, other times I’m asked for advice about where to start. I thought it would be handy to have all my budgeting posts in one place with a little explanation of each one so that you can more easily find answers to your burning budgeting questions.
I used to budget in my head. That was back when we didn’t have debt (or any lofty financial goals either). You can get a peek at our budgeting background. We’ve come a long way!
Making the switch from using Mint for “budgeting” (I use that term loosely) to using YNAB (that’s short for YouNeedABudget, in case you’re new around here) was definitely the best thing that ever happened to our budget. I give a thorough explanation of the budgeting problems with Mint (and similar apps and programs) and why YNAB is different and solves those problems.
With YNAB we give every dollar a job. This post is a good overview of how we budget down to zero. It includes lots of screenshots too.
Living on last month’s income is one of the revolutionary parts of the YNAB method. It made a huge impact on our budgeting. I wrote a Guide to Getting a Month Ahead Financially (free for my email subscribers) that goes into greater detail.
Because our big goal is to get out of debt, we try to maximize the amount we pay each month. We don’t want any idle dollars sitting around in our budget. This method could be applied to other financial goals too, if debt isn’t your thing.
We have three ways that we can handle unexpected expenses with our budget. Our emergency fund is precious, so it is our last resort. When we use the other methods first, we can almost always avoid using the emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
Using credit cards usually means your a month behind, not a month ahead! However, credit cards actually can work really well on a zero-based budget when you are living on last month’s income. I think it’s actually the safest and least stressful way that you can use credit cards.
If you’re new to budgeting, you might have a hard time coming up with your categories. Here is a discussion of the types of budget expenses you will have along with some possible categories to get you thinking.
YNAB looks forward instead of backward like traditional budgeting. Here’s a detailed explanation on how to set your new budget up for success. If you’re new to budgeting you might not know the difference. If you’re a seasoned budgeter you might wonder why you never did it this way before.
It’s a lot harder to break your budget if it’s flexible. A flexible budget is different from the traditional idea of budgeting. Stop feeling like a budgeting failure!
To keep your budget successful, you will need to plan for future expenses, both expected and unexpected. Here are some ways to do that!
It might sound boring, but we actually love our monthly budgeting meetings. Here are the steps we go through and why we enjoy it!
Well there you have it– a dozen posts on the way we budget! I hope you find what you’re looking for and that you’re able to make an awesome budget. Budgeting doesn’t have to be a chore. It really can be exciting and rewarding. You might even get to the point where it’s fun!