Perhaps you already read my blog, The Financial Advisor Without a Budget. You might be thinking, “Whoa, whoa, Jessica. You are writing about budgeting? I didn’t think you liked budgeting?”
Well, you’re right. I personally don’t “budget.” However, budgeting has the potential to CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.
Take it from my friends Andrea and Frank. They are dedicated budgeters. So, you hopeful budgeters out there, take a look at my First Timer’s Guide to Budgeting, read this interview, and get on your merry budgeting way!
Note: Andrea and Frank’s replies to the questions are in green and my personal additions are in black.
1. How long have you been budgeting?
We’ve been strictly budgeting for 4 years. We tried budgeting before, but it never really stuck. We didn’t realize the value until we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class through our church.
Dave Ramsey and I disagree on some financial planning topics, but I can’t say enough good things about his budgeting programs. I have heard story after story about how his programs help people get out of debt and create financial stability.
2. What is your budgeting method?
We use an Excel spreadsheet. We based it off Dave Ramsey’s sheet, but we adapted it for our own family’s needs.
We enter our budget information at the beginning of the month. Every week when Frank’s paycheck comes in, I update it as necessary. We don’t use the cash system that Ramsey uses, but we use an envelope app called Good Budget.
Listen, the Good Budget app seemed SO EASY to use! It was clear, visually appealing, and dare I say… it looked a little fun?
Andrea is the master of the family spreadsheet. She puts notable effort into maintaining it, but she has adopted a system that is efficient and easy to use. She found what works for her family. There is no cookie cutter secret to budgeting!
3. What other methods did you try before you found one that stuck?
Quicken has a budgeting section, but we couldn’t get it to work for what we needed. We tried it for a long time to keep track of income and debt, but it didn’t work for us.
As a young couple, we balanced our check book, but that was about it. If we had known then what we know now, we probably could have paid for our kids’ college, had no mortgage… maybe even been millionaires by now!
You know what else can make you a millionaire? Compound interest.
4. What do you feel are the biggest benefits to budgeting?
We don’t have to worry about paying for the hole in the ceiling…
Before the interview, Andrea shared a story about her son accidently smashing a hole in their ceiling. Oops!
We don’t let money rule our lives. WE TELL OUR MONEY WHERE TO GO! We can go on vacation with ease, because we have the money set aside and we don’t have to worry about it. A household budget for emergencies takes care of the unexpected things. That’s the best part… we know how we are going to pay for things.
5. What are the cons to budgeting?
If we use up the grocery and dining budget for the week and someone wants to go out to eat, we have to second guess it. Do we really want to go out to eat and cut it away from another part of the budget?
Generally, budgeting doesn’t tie us down too much because we set extra aside, but it’s something we always think about.
6. What tips would you give to those who are trying to make a budget work for them?
Be honest with each other about your finances.
Communicate a lot.
Base your budget off a 40-hour workweek, even if you get overtime… you know, in case you need a buffer when a pandemic happens!
Set aside an emergency fund first – BEFORE fun funds.
These are all great tips! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you, Andrea and Frank, for your wisdom and insight! If you are married, budgeting is definitely a team sport. If you are thinking about marriage, read my 8 Financial Topics You Must Talk About.
I will leave you with a final quote from Andrea.
“We are budgeters and wouldn’t change it for the world. It leaves us with such peace, especially during times of struggle.”