The best way to create a budget is, of course, whatever you will stick to. This method might be different for everyone, but I do believe I found the answer for me to create a budget I'll actually stick to in the new year. Sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Best Way to Create a Budget and Stick to It
I cannot say enough how self-employment completely changed my life. Not having a weekly paycheck is the biggest adjustment financially. It doesn't matter how much work I do in a month, what matters is when I get paid. That means my income fluctuates dramatically and is very rarely predictable. The entrepreneur in me finds this exciting. The responsible bill-payer in me finds this terrifying. It's all part of the allure! However, it's more important than ever that I keep a close eye on our expenses.
Clearly, I am a digital girl so the best way to create a budget for me is something I can access on my devices. I tried to set up a google sheet with our income and expenses. I believe I updated that for about four days before forgetting about it. Finally, I found the EveryDollar app and love it. It takes about ten minutes to set up an account and easily and efficiently enter your numbers. Each expense is itemized and carries over from month to month. With a quick click, you can change each amount if need be. Of course, you can easily adjust your income, as well.
(Example image. Not mine.)
There are a few ways the EveryDollar app will allow me to reach goals in the new year. I want to save more money, lower our bills, pay off large chunks of debt, and donate to charity on a regular basis. There are lines for each one of these things right on the app. That means, you put an amount in each slot and it's then factored into your budget. Unless you manually change them, they stay in each month.
Once I added all of our expenses, I was able to see where we could save. Spending on food is an ongoing issue. I need to see it in my face as much as possible to get it through my head that we need major work in this area. Awareness is key when trying to improve your financial situation. It's similar to counting calories while watching your weight. Tracking each and every purchase makes you think twice about it and can help cut down on impulse buying.
(Again, not mine.)
A good example is a recent occurrence. I saw a super cozy blanket on sale at the store. You see, I have a blanket-buying problem that my brain seems to ignore. However, I plugged the amount into my app and saw how my budget adjusted. Knowing that I didn't want to put less into our savings, or tweak any other of the more important categories, I took the glorious bundle of warmth right out of my cart. Impulse purchase = avoided.
Discipline can be an issue when you work for yourself. Seeing our budget numbers each month motivates the heck out of me. The only constant income number in there is Mike's portion. That amount isn't always a guarantee either because his work slows down at times. So, our budget starts off as a big fat negative. That encourages me to hustle my butt off. When you work from home, there are a lot of temptations and distractions. All I have to do is open the EveryDollar app to know that I cannot take off days to binge-watch the latest show.
(This one is mine.)
I can access EveryDollar from different platforms and even connect multiple devices. Mike can check in on his device to see what the financial situation looks like, too. EveryDollar is free, but there's a paid version that unlocks even more exciting features like syncing to your bank account for faster expense tracking.
Multiple budgets are also an option on the app. I have one for personal and one for business. I even factor in estimated taxes and self-employment tax, so I never have the illusion of feeling too comfortable. 😉 Both budgets are equally important for nailing my 2017 goals. No matter what your situation is, keeping track of your income and expenses is a wise idea.
The flexibility of the EveryDollar app makes it a win for me. Having a plan is how I thrive, so the fact that I can add in an extra slot to save towards a special dinner, vacation, or another blanket, makes EveryDollar the best way to create a budget for me.
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