A Busy Mom’s Budget Plan
As moms (or dads for that matter) life is hectic enough as it is. Between houses that need cleaned (kids as well), meals that need made, studies that need completed, and littles that need to play (Let’s not even mention working in between) we often think about things such as a budget and sigh wondering....now where do they expect me to fit this in now!
But today, I want to talk to you a little about preparing a budget....quick and easy! I’m serious peeps! It doesn’t need to be something we hide under our beds from. It really can become a simple habit!
The Getting Back to Basics Series...
I’m on my third post about Getting back to Basics! In the last two posts I spoke about cutting back on your groceries and alternatively, trimming the corners onyour entire budget!
How’s that working for you? Have you already started or are you still planning it?
Let me ask you this....have you ever reached the middle of the month and all of the sudden realize you have no money to get you through until payday? Have you opened your fridge to realize that there is no milk for your child and that you have to make a choice between gas for your car or that gallon of milk? I’ll be honest....we know that feeling! That is why I began budgeting!
Hubby and I are more the type that like to have breathing room in our budget, so we stick to the priority things. We believe a successful budget is one in which you budget flexi-money! It is human nature to want to be spontaneous....but I only like to be spontaneous to the extent that we planned for it! Does this sound contradictory? Well, what I mean is that I KNOW I’m going to decide that I don’t want a meal I planned but that I want to make a fresh chicken salad. So I leave us a little room in our budget for said decisions! That way I don’t need to feel guilty when I saw those R100 shoes I just couldn’t resist buying for the kids!
We begin with our incomes (of course!) and never budget on his commission, extra money received from parents or my blog. We stick to looking at our guaranteed income and later, during the month, add in any extra monies received to get an outlook on how we will spend.
We then calculate our debit orders (bank costs, cable, and debt). After that, we budget it the kids school fees, the nanny’s salary, and our groceries and petrol. This covers all of absolute NEEDS!
We then look at the remaining income and decide....do we need things for the children (clothes, maybe a reward for behaviour) and do we need to make repairs/upgrades to the house or car. We then consider what we can spend there....again this begins to vary based on additional income, thus why we budget it last!
Finally, we have our money to carry us through the month. This remaining income we discuss things like....maybe this month I want to get my hair done (like I’ve done this month for the first time in TWO years!) or perhaps it’s Hubby’s month to use some money for himself for fishing etc. or maybe there is a birthday/ anniversary coming up that we would like to celebrate.
I try to budget into our groceries meat and other food items for if we want to braai in the month with friends, but we use this leftover monies to decide what exactly we can or want to do....maybe a weekend camping trip with friends or a lazy Sunday potjie at the house!
How to create your budget...
If you’ve never budgeted, have but couldn’t make it work, or are a budgeting pro....I’ve found an amazing budget planner at Vortex42. It simple, basic, and can be completely edited to fit your personal needs! It has EVERYTHING, if you want to be that specific.
This budget is simply laid out....downloads for FREE...and is easy to edit. You can change any of the fields where they state what are you budgeting....just leave the numeral total fields alone! ;-) They have all kinds of formulas!
If you have never created a budget before, don't worry....you might slip the first month or so! It is a learning process! You don't need an amount in every single one of these categories! Play with it, brainstorm and create the form that fits your families needs!
How we make it work...
The biggest thing is that our budget is together! For Hubby and I we made the decision that the money is ours not mine and yours. We discuss and take each others wants/needs into consideration. We take turns saying okay...this month we have X amount extra....what would you like to do and swap the following month.
This not only creates equality but it forces communication between us! Sounds crazy....but it makes us discuss our wants with each other and priorities forcing us to consider what the other person thinks. It actually provides room for a huge range of conversations as we tend to let on conversation flow into different topics. Before the night is over....we’ve probably discussed everything from the physical income, to getting more active, to our spiritual standing, to a possible anniversary outing we’d like to plan!
The best part of all...because we are in this together we create a checks and balance. It’s easier to stick to our budget because there is always the other person who knows as well the plan to step up and say ‘eh, no no!’ We aren’t rude towards each other but are in agreement because we plan the budget ahead of time.
If changes need to be made, we discuss together. We say what needs done and where to move the money around!
In a household, I feel it is impossible to budget every penny and actually kind of silly.....so here is our top tips for sticking to it!
1) Pray about it! Including God in your budget is the #1 step to success
2) Plan it together and check each other out
3) Discuss, discuss, discuss: go back to point one and consider is it necessary, can it wait until next months budget or how do we fix the budget to include it
4) Give yourself wiggle room. Provide income within your budget for treats and/or the unexpected!
5) Forgive yourself! If you slip up this month, don’t beat yourself up. Talk honestly, openly and consider seriously the next months budget. Learn from your mistakes and Let it go!
I hope you are enjoying the Getting Back to Basics series and that it is in some way shining new light for you!
Do you budget? Do you have a go-to budget planner that words? What is it? What is your #1 tip for creating a budget?
Check out my highlight sponsor this month!!