Simplify your Budget

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Does budgeting and the thought of organizing your budget intimidate you? Can you come up with excuses to procrastinate and avoid budgeting? I know I can.

Working on finances is something I love to avoid. I just don’t enjoy it. So I know that simplifying our budget is a way for me to make it more manageable. And that makes it easier to GET.IT.DONE!

Plus it helps to have pretty pens in lots of colors. hehehe I love my pens. :)

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I wrote a post HERE about how we paid off 39k worth of debt in 13 months. Then I wrote this post HERE about how we went right back into debt. It was AWFUL. We had that taste of freedom and then it was gone just like that. And you know what happened? I began to avoid it and ‘assume’ it was all okay. It is never okay unless you are taking care of your finances daily, if not weekly.

 

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People don’t just wake up one day and say they want to go into debt. They wake up and say, how did I get here?

And then where do you begin? How do you get back on track?

Some people have absolutely zero debt. And may not even think they have anything to worry about. But we can’t control major catastrophes and we never know what the future may hold. Are we prepared to handle absolutely anything that comes our way?

I am not an expert by any means. But I do know what works for me and for my family. Hopefully I can inspire you with some of our ideas.

{Know it all} The good, the bad, and the ugly. How much debt do you have total? How much cash do you have in the bank? It hurts to know sometimes but it is crucial in getting a handle on your budget.

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{Get it organized} Get a notebook, binder, whatever you fancy. I love my binder. I have tabs in it for everything. It keeps me organized from day to day. Get an annual bill schedule. You have to know what bills you have, when they are do and most importantly how much.

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{Track it} What are you spending? Write it down. I use this free printable from HERE.* I try to keep up with this daily and keep it in my binder. I never go more than 3-4 days without updating it. But sometimes we really do go 3-4 days without spending any money so sometimes that works for us. We try to have as many no spend days as possible.

*Also there are SO many great printables out there. I try not to re-invent the wheel. Making printables just isn’t my thing so I use great free ones that other AMAZING bloggers make. I appreciate them for doing that so much! :)

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{Set it up} Make a list of all bills and get them set up for automatic bill pay online. Sometimes you save even more money on your bills, checks, stamps, and envelopes. Not to mention the TIME to fill and pay all of those every month. Plus if you miss a bill you pay huge late fees. This will help prevent that.

{Close it} How many bank accounts do you need? I had six or more. It was chaotic for me personally. Not to mention you get charged fees if you drop below a certain balance. So I streamlined these to only the accounts that were essential to my family’s finances.

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{Stay on top of it} Every month I am thinking about our bills and if there is something I can do to cut, trim or simplify in our budget. I keep a running list in Evernote on my computer. This makes a HUGE difference.

Here are some tools in our toolbox that our family uses and loves:

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War on Debt

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Pinterest. I keep a board of money saving ideas. You can follow me HERE for ideas too. I love finding new ideas and organizing them on there for inspiration.

The MoneySmart Family System. I just LOVED this book. It really made me consider how we teach our kids about finances.

The Good Life for Less. I really liked this book too. Another Mom who fought to get her family out of debt and is so organized.

The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. Do you follow her blog? She is great!

These are just a few of the tools that we love and use. And this is how we simplify our budget and bills. How do you simplify your budget? If you follow me on pinterest, please let me know your user name so I can follow you too! I love getting new ideas! Have an great day!

For more tips and ideas on organizing your budget, follow me HERE on facebook so you won’t miss a thing!

Comments

  1. GREAT TIPS! Thanks for sharing. Wow, I’m an organizer, but you’re my organization hero. :)

    I am sooo thankful to live in financial freedom. It’s a weight off you back, isn’t it?! Congrats!

    Rachel
    http://beranville.blogspot.com

  2. Leah Hostetler says:

    Followed you on Pinterest, follow me back at https://pinterest.com/leamil5324/ :) Enjoy your blog!

  3. Renee @ Great Peace Academy says:

    Hi We’re neighbors at TGIF this week. You have some great tips here. My husband and Iwere doing pretty good paying off debt when he suddenly, unexpectedly lost his job. So having a cushion is very important!

  4. Thanks for sharing! I love the binder and the pinterest idea.

    -Liz

    http://www.srasaysso.blogspot.com

  5. Such great tips! Thanks for linking up to Show and Tell Saturday! I am your newest follower on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter too!

  6. Barb @ A Life in Balance says:

    I saw the Evernote logo and just had to check out your post. I use Evernote extensively along with Nozbe to help me keep track of my notes in Evernote and how they relate to projects and other stuff I’m working on.

    I need to pull out my copy of the Money Saving Mom book again. Time for a refresher read!

  7. Crystelle Boutique says:

    I hate debt! It gives me sleepless nights. I avoid it like the plaque…

    hugs x
    Crystelle

  8. Great tips! I sooooo need to get a handle on our budget!

  9. Countrified Hicks says:

    Great ideas. I would love for you to come share these on my weekly link up that just went live for the week. http://countrifiedhicks.blogspot.com/2013/02/mondays-with-countrified-hicks-4.html

  10. Have bookmarked this to have a good read later. We just got a folder for all our important documents and I am loving being more organised!

  11. Kendra @ A Proverbs 31 Wife says:

    You are so right about tracking your income and expenses. When I was a teen, my mom set me up with a Quicken program. When we got married I bought my own and now 5 years later we still use it. And to be honest? I love doing my bookwork now. I like being able to go in and see the income vs expense for the month. I can see our savings growing just a little each month and it feels good to know that we are being good stewards with the little God has given us.

    Shameless plug: I actually blogged about all of this in January. You can read it here: http://aproverbs31wife.com/how-i-track-my-spending/

    Oh, and I found you at Growing home :)

  12. Bobi Jensen says:

    Great reminder! Emergency savings is the antidote to future debt. But sometimes its harder to accrue than paying off debt.

    I have a weekend Link party if you’d care to join:
    http://www.bobijensen.com

  13. BeColorful says:

    Yay you and very impressive for your age. My husband and I will pay off our home in May. I am so excited. We haven’t carried any credit card debt for years. We have a car loan but only because it was a 0% interest. Even so, I am anxious to get that paid for too. I sometimes feel guilty telling people that we are virtually debt free but it sure makes it easier to go to sleep at night. :D Congrats on your progress. Thanks for sharing.
    p

  14. First, Erin, let me say how wonderful your site looks! I too recently converted to Genesis for my spiritual journal blog :) I’m a lot like you – I know I need to budget but haven’t followed through and procrastinated. I’m not the type who willingly wants to get a binder and organize, but here I believe you’ve convinced me to start. Why? Because I don’t fully understand what flows out of our bank accounts. I do know one thing for certain: I spend too much! So this week, I’m on the hunt for a gorgeous binder and some equally gorgeous pens. I’ll also be following you on Pinterest and Subscribing to your blog. I want to keep the momentum going! BTW, each time I open the pantry to grab my Basic H, I think of you :)

  15. Oops, I forgot! Do you know where I can find a monthly organizer to use on the computer rather than in printable form? Thanks!

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