Creating Good Habits: Creating and Maintaining a Budget

Since blogging about things helps keep me held accountable, I’m trying to add a new task each week that I’d like to work on. This week, I am going to work on a creating a new budget for us. Our current one is so outdated that I think it’s hindering paying off our house and getting more money into our savings. Expenses are changing as our family goes through different stages of our lives and it’s always a good practice to continue to update your budgets periodically.

While I can share so many good deals and money-saving tips with you, by far, the best one I can encourage you all to do is to create a budget and stick with it. I know, I groan at the thought of a budget, too. But it’s honestly very, very hard to pay off debt and get that savings account rolling when you don’t have a plan in place and you don’t know where your current money is going each month.

There are so many useful budgeting tools online now. But no matter which one you choose, the first thing you really need to do is to track your current expenses and cash flow. How can you decide what to allot for groceries if you don’t know how much you spend on them?  Or how can you know what areas to work on cutting back if you don’t know what the amounts currently are to dial back on? So this is definitely where I recommend that everyone starts.

Get a receipt for everything you buy, including something as simple as a pack of gum, for ideally one month and then total them at the end. You might be surprised to see where your money is actually going. From there, you break out your expenses making sure you budget within your means and hopefully have some money for savings–and eventually you’ll work on cutting back your expenses as much as you can to get your debt paid off faster and the savings account building up.

What types of budgeting tools are all you having luck using? I’m hoping that some of you will join me in this task this week to form a new ongoing good habit. Love to hear your progress!