When I met my husband to be, I instinctively was relieved to know that he thought a lot about money, lived below his means, and proactively managed it. He even had us go through a Dave Ramsey financial peace course together as part of our courtship. I learned a lot, but still struggled with being confined to a budget and saving for the future crisis (am I the only one that hates planning for bad things to happen??). Besides, the cash envelope system did not jive with my habit of not carrying any cash on me.
Fast forward to married life, working part-time, and pregnant with my first child and my struggles with money culminated with my dear husband announcing that we had spent over $600 in a month on food, and we needed to figure something out. Granted, I was going through some pretty extreme cravings - vegan spinach gourmet pizza from Italia Restaurant, fruit roll-ups, and waffles. I was shocked at how out of control I had gotten, especially knowing that I used to spend only $150 a month during my minimalist single days. Even I had to admit that something had to change, but what's a freestyle money person like me supposed to do??
Enter Aaron Coleman's book, Winning with Money. It has been five years since I read this book, and he presented the ONLY budgeting worksheet that I could manage. Believe it or not, it didn't even look like a traditional budgeting worksheet. It was simply a calendar. Let me share how it worked.
My husband and I decided on a monthly grocery budget goal of $400. Then I divide that number into the the number of days of the month. For a 30-day month, I would divide $400 by 30 to get $13.33 a day of available spending money. On a monthly calendar page, I entered $13.33 on whatever day I started my new budget with room underneath to subtract out how much I spent that day and to put the remaining balance underneath. On the next day, I would add back in to the remaining balance another $13.33, and put that available amount on the next day's spot. If I spent more than I had available, I had a remaining balance of a negative number. If I didn't spend any money, then my next day amount got a lot bigger.
I hope you are better at managing money than I am. I really recommend this budget calendar exercise as a great first step to budgeting and controlling your spending. Mr. Coleman recommends putting the calendar up on the fridge. I eventually preferred to use one of those little pocket calendar books. Check out his book to learn more about money management - Winning with Money by Aaron Coleman. Note: These are NOT affiliate links.
What budgeting tools do you like to use?