Living Richly on a Small Budget: A Budget


I am slightly obsessed with budgeting.

Ask my husband. He’ll probably nod his head in agreement while rolling his eyes. It isn’t that he doesn’t appreciate what I am able to do with our budget. I feel like I do a fairly decent job stretching our money as far as it can go and prioritizing our income. It is just that I stress over unnecessary things, I am always under but am always worried about going over and I just simply am passionate about saving money.

Everyone’s budgets are going to look different. Especially when you think about the cost of living. Our cost of living is small, but our income is small as well. So I think it pretty much balances out there.

I budget on paper using a Columnar Ruled Pad. I like it on paper, but I am thinking about transferring over to an app.

I have columns with each category: Rent, Utilities, Insurances, Tithe, Fuel/Car Expenses, Grocery/Essentials, Car Payment, Birthday/Christmas, Misc.

Miscellaneous covers everything from coffee runs, eating out, new shoes, clothes that B needs, textbooks, home d├ęcor…a lot of randomness.

Highlights of Our Budget:

  • 10% goes directly into Tithing.
  • 5-10% goes into Savings depending on our expenses that month. We try to aim for the 10%. 
  • Car Payment. (In three months we’ll have our car paid off!)
  • The rest of the columns have designated amounts as well such as $375 for groceries for the month, $75 to the Birthday/Christmas column and other amounts.

·         Whatever is left over I designate to a column that needs some cushion, transfer to savings or start a new column for vacation or home improvement to begin if we need to start saving for something else.

To figure out how much everything costs you should have been keeping track of your expenses. Utilities take a little more to figure out. I take the average cost of each bill because electricity is going to be way more for us in the summer than in any other season. That way overtime I have been saving a little extra towards paying those summer bills.

Example:
If I put $100 back each month for Electricity but only used $70 in May then I have $30 leftover to put towards one of the summer month’s bills that could be $120+.

Some utilities stay the same for us such as cell phone bill, internet bill and satellite television. But water, electricity and gas are the three I have to average out to make sure we have enough for each month over the course of the entire year.

The easiest thing to do to see if your cost of living is setting you back is to find budget calculators online.

One of my friends recommended www.crown.org to me and I love it. It confirmed that I was doing my budget correctly, but it can also help you figure out how to budget for your income.

Budgeting is such an important tool. It helps you see where your money is going so that you are living within your means, another important factor of any income. You may have to learn how to live on less if you have been living on more than what you have been bringing in, but it is rewarding to know that you are able to live on what you make and be able to figure out how to pay off debt and save your money. 

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