Budgeting–need advice

Good Morning

I started off my morning with a real breakfast…I have realised that eating a proper breakfast is something that I need. It’s my fuel.


2 eggs w/ 1 tsp vegan spread, zuch and onion. 1 orange, 1 HUGE coffee and about 10 almonds (unpictured)

I have been thinking a lot about budgeting..ie my money. I am going to be a student in about 4 weeks and that means that I won’t have such a comfortable life.

I am going to embark on budgeting today. I’ve never done it before. I think that I am afraid to do it. I don’t want to know the harsh reality of not having money..it’s like dieting. BLAH.

Any tips? How did you set-up a budget? How did you track it?


26 thoughts on “Budgeting–need advice

  1. supaladie says:

    Nice looking breakfast. I am not sure I can offer advice on budgeting as I have just started doing so myself, but I think you have to do what will work for you where you do not feel like you are restricting yourself. When I feel that way, I normally do the opposite of budgeting and splurge. Wishing you the best in your budgeting, I know you can do it!

  2. charity says:

    I have actually made budgeting one of my new years resolutions. I wrote out all my bills vs. my income and decided on a reasonable food budget and just write everything down in a notebook. I guess it is to show me where I spend too much money and to better be able to control it. I also want to be able to save a good bit too.

  3. Angie says:

    I use mint.com to track all my expenses and set up budgets. I love it. I saw what I usually spent all my money in a month, then set up budgets to what I think I should be spending.

  4. Rosa says:

    I use good old excel. I enter all the income.
    I then list each monthly expense: rent, car loans, heating/electricity, daycare etc. Household expenses such as food and toiletries. Credit cards, loans, other debts. I add all the expenses up and do a formula to subtract the expenses from the income.

    I also set up a space for daily expenditures to track receipts; even if paid by credit card it goes in for the day. By the end of the month, I would know how much I am spending and hope not too many things are on credit. I have everything in once sheet that I can easily review and add to. I started in December and am angry at myself for not doing it sooner. Good luck.

  5. Diana says:

    Not enough space on twitter to say it all but Fabulously Broke in the City also has some budgeting tools you can purchase (proceeds go to Make A Wish) here: http://www.fabulouslybroke.com/fb-budgeting-analysis-tool/ plus lots of other tips. Her other blogs, like Everyday Minimalist have some great tips: http://www.everydayminimalist.com/. Good luck!

    πŸ™‚ Diana

    PS My budgeting steps were to 1. document every dollar/cent spent and 2. use actuals to create monthly budgets, trying to spend less on areas I thought needed improvement.

    Also check out mint.com – they have an iPhone app, too!

  6. Tracey @ Tropical Happiness says:

    In the past, this is what has worked for me:
    #1- Spend two dollars to buy a little notebook and a pen. Write down EVERYTHING that you spend. Seriously, just like calorie counting, when a cookie here and a sip of soda there really adds up, the same goes for your budget. A random shirt that you buy and a meal out here and there can really add up.
    #2- Pay yourself first. I have a checking account and a savings account. My paycheck goes into my checking account on a Friday. That Monday, I have an automatic transfer set up so that money from my paycheck is transferred directly into savings. And I DON’T TOUCH IT.
    #3- I then create a budget out of what is left. I use excel, because it’s easy to keep track of everything. I write out everything that is a fixed cost (rent, utilities, car payment, insurance, etc). And then I allocate $$ amounts for the rest of what I need to buy (groceries, gas, etc).
    I also allocate a certain amount for luxuries. $$ for eating out, $$ for shopping, $$ for miscellaneous items.
    If you do this, and then revert back to #1 where you track every single dollar, it will really help. The most important things are finding where your money is going, and sticking to the guidelines you set.

    I think it’s GREAT that you are wanting to set a budget! The hardest part is sticking to it, but it will be worth it in the end!

    • Mish says:

      I love that. I think that I just don’t want to have to do it. If that makes sense. But it’s for a really important thing..being financially independent. Thanks for this. Great tips.

      • Tracey @ Tropical Happiness says:

        It makes perfect sense. Finances are really scary. A few years ago, I just spent what I wanted without tracking anything & I didn’t have a ton saved up. As soon as I started paying attention, I started saving more and more. It felt good, and became a lot less scary.
        I don’t track everything now, but I am fully aware of what I spend, and I am ALWAYS tracking my savings! GOOD LUCK!

    • gemfit says:

      I second this! It’s no use in creating an ideal budget without an idea of where your money is going at the moment. One other thing I think is important is to review your budget often (monthly etc) and make sure it’s realistic, so you’re not feeling deprived. There’s no point in saying you’ll only eat at home and not setting an eating-out budget if you know you love to eat out a little. Give yourself a little something for everything if you can.

      I’m trying to get the Boy to sit down with me and create a family budget too – it’s a great way to start the year.

  7. Jennifer Y. says:

    There are so many different things you can do. You will probably have to try a few things to see what works for you. We use an Excel spreadsheet for our budget. That’s only because my hubs is an Excel genius, I probably wouldn’t do it that way if he hadn’t set it up. There is probably a free downloadable doc that you can personalize for yourself.

    I also like to use Mint.com to track actual expenses.

    Another good thing you can do is the envelope system. You budget each expense and then take money out each week/month and put it in a separate envelope labled with that expense. You use the money out of your envelopes, and when it’s gone, it’s gone! We have tried this, but we haven’t made it work yet. We are doing fine budget-wise, but it can be hard to keep track of all those envelopes.

    I like this website for advice and tips too: http://www.thecentsiblelife.com/. Kelly is really nice and she will respond to you personally if you contact her.

  8. Suz says:

    Thanks for posting this! Lots of good ideas to look into. We’ve had lots of discussion about thing since I’m the bread winner right now!

  9. missyrayn says:

    I set up all my income and then all my necessary expenses.

    Now I use Mvelopes.com to put my money into categories and only spend from those. You can do it too with real envelopes. Just set aside how much you want to spend in that category into and envelope for the month. Once the money is gone no more for that month.

    Oh and make sure that you always have some money for fun so budgeting doesn’t seem like a real joy kill.

  10. Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete says:

    I have Quicken, and it seems to work for me. They have a budget organizer on it which tells you what percentage of your income you should be spending on rent, food, etc. Then, you can adjust it if you want! Since all my accounts are automatically downloaded anyway for balancing in there including my credit cards, it makes it easy to keep track of my spending and see whether I’m on goal or not. Good luck!

  11. All Women Stalker says:

    I suck at sticking to my budget. O.o
    But what I do is make a list of all my expenses and allocate a certain amount of money for it. I also remember to include my savings in the expenses. It’s always good to save.

  12. MizFit says:

    Im not one to dole out ANY ADVICE HERE.
    Im great about budgeting for clothes etc. but not so at ALL when it comes to food/gym fees.
    Im all kinds of FRAUGHT with excuses why it is “totally saving me money in the long run…”

  13. MrsFatass says:

    My BFF uses a budgeting program called Mvelopes (like ENVELOPES but with an M for money?) She swears by it. I need to swear by it. Though I am not sure I need a program to tell us we’re always broke. πŸ™‚

    Anyhow. School! Excited? I had my first bio class last night. A handful of mid-thirties second career folks like me, but my prof is 26 and my lab partner is 18. 18!

    But I love it.

  14. Lily @ Lily's Health Pad says:

    At first I kept track of mine with excel. I saved all receipts and log em’ in to make sure I’m on track. It was really time consuming. But now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, I don’t need to log things into a spreadsheet anymore. I just kinda know how my spending should be allocated.

  15. kilax says:

    We have a monthly budget of re-occurring bills that we know are set in stone, then how much we think we should be spending on other things, like food and entertainment (that;s kind of gone to zero). Track how you spend now and log in and start adjusting!

    I put a bunch of tips on reducing spending on my blog today.

  16. amandapanda1981 says:

    I currently use the software program called Microsoft Money. However they are currently no longer providing service soon so I will be switching to Quicken. Anyway, I keep track of all reciet that I get when I go out. I automatically debit them from the credit card or debit card after each transaction. Every month I also put in how much money I will make each week and also normal expenses (cable, interenet, cell phone, rent, etc). So then I know what my money will look like each month. There is also features in the program to set up a specific budget. As someone else mentioned, mint.com I heard is suppose to work great too.

  17. Brenda says:

    I am a huge penny pincher! I think the biggest thing is to pre-plan every meal each week before going to the store. I buy the big family pack of Chicken breast then bring it home and cook it all at once. Then put it into it’s own freezer bag for that next week (or couple of weeks) meals.
    Also, I was paying $84 dollars every 3 months for garbage. When I called to cancel (I was planning on recycling everything and paying per garbage bag at the recycle center) my garbage company cut my bill down to $54 dollars (the price I paid 4 years ago) so I wouldn’t drop them. Call on your auto home insurance too, they will cut rates if you don’t leave them or another carrier might give you better rates for switching.
    Also, walmart will give you competitors sale prices. It pays to look through the sunday paper and take the fliers in with you when you shop. Even if it’s just $5 you are saving, it adds up.
    Your breakfast looks so yummy!! I’m needing new ideas to vamp up my breakfast:)

  18. MB says:

    I’ve never really done a budget but now that I’m unemployed I’m thinking I may have to do it soon. I’ve started by only buying things that I NEED instead of things that I WANT.

    I hope you get some good budgeting tips so you can share them.

  19. Diane Fit to the Finish says:

    We first started on a budget by listing EVERY expense we could think of, from food to haircuts, to movies, to spare change expenses. Then we compared those expenses to our income. (Sad day that was 😦 )

    Then we cut where we could and tried to get our spending under control. It wasn’t easy but it worked. Now we get out in cash all the money we need for food & extra expenses. When the cash is gone we are done spending. It’s been an exercise in self discipline that is HARD at times.

    You are so smart to budget early in your life. I totally admire you!

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