I HATE My Monthly Budget (And What I Use Instead That ACTUALLY Works) – The best way to make a budget that you can actually stick to, change easily, and grow with as you need to. Don’t spend a DIME on another budgeting system before you read this.
When my husband and I started budgeting, we looked at our spending and just decided to cut it back… RUTHLESSLY. We slashed every category by more than half just so that we could feel like it was within “normal.” And the result was…
“I HATE my monthly budget!”
Yes, you read that right. The girl going around telling you to stick to your budget and have a plan for every penny hates a monthly budget.
But didn’t you JUST say to stick to your budget?
Yes! Yes, I did. BUT for me, a monthly budget was too tough to keep track of. Here’s what I mean: If each month I have $500 for groceries ($100 per person per month), It’s much easier to be very loose with your spending early in the month. After all, you have PLENTY leftover! Suddenly it’s the 11th of the month and you’re looking at an empty fridge and $75 to make it through the rest of the month.
So instead of going foraging for sticks to cook up for supper, change the budget structure.
For us, breaking our budget into weeks works best. If I know that I only have $125 a week to spend on groceries, I can work with that amount of money! For me, it was also very gratifying to see that we didn’t spend our full budget and to take the extra and save it.
I like the K.I.S.S. Method when I’m working with my budget. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
The more budgets you have, the harder it is to keep track of everything. Stick with no more than 3 “umbrella” budgets; budgets that cover a lot of different things. For my family, our budgets look like this:
- Groceries: Which includes food, paper products, and anything else relating to eating. $125 each week is what we have allotted.
- Other: This is for everything else that I would ever spend money on. Everything from cat food to getting a new sheet set comes out of this budget.
Those are the only weekly budgets that we use for cash each week. Our bills and other similar expenses don’t count towards these weekly budgets.
For most of us, these are the only two budgets that will change weekly. You might spend all of your grocery budget money one week, and then have $50 leftover the next. Whatever is left over is saved in a special “rainy day” account.
For me, the best way to keep track of spending is by using the cash envelope system. Full accountability and it’s super easy:
- Store money in an envelope.
- Spend money? Write the amount on the envelope.
- Whatever is left over goes back in the envelope.
- Save what’s left at the end of the week.
- Refill envelope.
The simpler a budget it, the easier it is to stick to!
If you’re having trouble sticking to a monthly budget, I’d definitely recommend trying the weekly cash budget. Be reasonable when you’re setting your budget, but stick to it! I found that it was MUCH easier for me to stick to a smaller budget in a smaller amount of time.