How do you budget?

 I am going to take a different approach to my blog starting with this one. I feel as if I need to share some aspects of my life to hopefully encourage others in these particular topics. The first one being money, a strange subject to start with but one that cannot be ignored.

Have you ever noticed when people begin to talk and get to know each other, the topic of money in some form comes up? Everyone handles it differently, but we all have to manage our money in some shape or form.

My husband and I have always been blessed when it comes to our budget. We both are naturally money savers and I think that helps us in our budget. We are at a point in our lives where we do not have a lot of extra money lying around, but we try to be responsible when we do get some extra income. Some days it is not "fun" to use extra money to pay off loans, but it does feel good to check one more thing off your list so you can focus on something else (like a new car).

I want to share how we budget our money, this may seem silly to some, but I feel like I need to share and maybe it can help someone.

So, we have categories for everything. I think it is close to the "envelope" system if you have heard of that. With categories we can save money in certain areas and make sure we have enough when our car insurance bill comes, or know how much we can spend on new clothes. I will list the categories and amounts each week below.

Some of these categories have money go in each week and money come out all in the same breath. Other categories like car insurance or emergency accumulate money until it is needed. This allows us to know we have money if it is needed. Here is an example of a weekly check breakdown and where all the money goes. Now this is being very open and honest because I am not creative enough to make up a fake check and categories to go with it.

Tithe - $104                                      Gas - $25                                        Groceries - $43
Phone Bill - $12                               Car Insurance - $25                      Car Repair - $30
Weekly Outreach - $30                  Church Events - $15                     Loans - $30
Emergency - $20                             Subscriptions - $25                      House items - $23
Clothes - $5                                      Gifts - $20                                       Date Money - $10
Items for the kids - $10                 Amy - $10                                        Benjamin - $10
Kids' College - $20                          School supplies - $3                     Family Time - $10
Savings - $20

Now, over the years we have adjusted the categories and amounts to what was needed at that time in life. We do have a health care category also but currently do not save anything into it because at this point in our lives we don't need to. Also, when income changes we obviously have to change the amounts and figure out which categories are top priority and which can be neglected if we do not have enough money. This has helped us when an unexpected expense comes up or if we needed something.

We have been blessed over the years because there have been two times where we went a couple months without an income. This is never easy and we did have to move money around from our savings into other categories to have the money we needed, but it never did run out. In those times, it is best to plan out any expenses and make sure to only spend on priority items rather than desires.

Do not be discouraged if this is overwhelming and you have no idea where to start when it comes to a budget. Start small and find what works for you. If you already have something, great thanks for reading this far! We definitely do not have it perfect, but this is what works for us. Generally, if we do not have the money in the budgeted category, we do not overspend. It is kind of like being on a diet, if you take a step backward one day, get back on track the next day and keep going.

Stay tuned for a post about how I save on groceries and living a natural but frugal life. Let me know what methods work for you when it comes to money!