Thursday, January 26, 2012

the one about budgeting

One of the greatest lessons my Dad passed onto me was the importance of a budget. Right before I graduated from college, he sat down with me and walked me through how to set up a budget in a spreadsheet and how to learn to live within my means. It was so incredibly helpful.

I, however, was not very good at it... or really, I just wasn't very consistent with it. I would go days without asking myself "where is this money coming from?" and then would feel guilty and overcorrect by not spending ANY money and eating rice and beans for every meal. (If you think I'm exaggerating, ask my old roomie, Ashley :) ) I was never comfortable or confident either way - when I was spending money, I always felt guilty and worried about it. When I wasn't spending money, I was not eating full meals and miserable :)

Since then I've found two very useful tools that help me budget.
1. Mint
2. Rob

My friend Mer first told me about Mint and it seemed like the answer to all my problems! It's an online tool (totally secure) that connects to your bank accounts, credit cards, etc. and streams the information into one place where you can categorize and label everything. It's very user-friendly and simple. You can set up budgets, track your spending, set savings goals, and so much more. We have loved it! One important think you need to know before you try it - you actually have to use it :) It's easy to forget to categorize expenses and keep up with everything but it won't be useful to you unless you keep up with it. Luckily there's an app for your phone so you can keep up with it on the go!
Here are some of our categories (not all), in case you are looking for some ideas! Some of them are self-explanatory but I put some brief descriptions for the ones that are not::

We took a Financial Peace University class through our church right after we got married, and learned a lot about how we to budget in that class. The main takeaway we had from it was to label every dollar ("every dollar has a name"...he says that like a million times). We found that when we budgeted only part of our income and left the rest floating out there, we overspent or didn't ever feel free to spend that unlabeled money. Label every dollar (even if it's in a general category like "fun" or "food" or "savings").

{ Speaking of savings...we also budget for savings (a lot right now, actually, since we are saving for a down payment on our first house). Everyone approaches savings differently but if you aren't sure how much you should be saving - a good place to start is 10% of your income if you from there. }

Honestly the most helpful thing for me in our budget has been Rob offering to take care of our finances. He has taken full ownership over it and it is a huge blessing! As an accountant by day, you would think that I wouldn't mind doing this for us at home. But I think it must be too many numbers for me :) When I come home from work, I want to do something creative and relaxing and pretty and use a different part of my brain! So luckily he does it all for us and it works so well for us.

One last note:: (this is wayyy longer than i thought it would be!) The reason we think a budget is so important is because we want to be a good stewards of all that the Lord has given to us. If we are wise with our money and how we spend it, it can be a great tool to use for advancing the kingdom, blessing others, and bringing glory to God. We also pray about our finances and especially about big financial decisions - everything we have is His and we want to make sure we remember that & our honoring Him with how we use it.

Welp there are my "tips". I don't know if that's helpful for anyone but I'm a nerd and I seriously love to just lay out and organize my thought process behind things :)

happy budgeting!


  1. I've always used Quicken, but I want you to show me I even downloaded it, but don't quite know if it will work for me. It is free, so that's the bonus! Let's catch up.

  2. i would love to show you! let's sit down and ill show you how we do it :) you, me, and some macalister's club sandwiches! it's a date!

  3. thanks quinn! i learned my blogging skills from the pro (you).


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