Frugal Friday – Do you budget?!

benjamin franklin quote | bring joyHi Loves!  So the word budget is hit and miss.  Some people love the idea, while the word makes others cringe.  Plus – creating and following a budget can seem like a very complicated and daunting task.  But really… its only as difficult as you make it.

Maybe I’m biased since I work in accounting as a profession, but its not really that difficult.  It does however take a bit of time.

I couple weeks ago, I mentioned tracking your spending.  Well start there.  I sketched out a few different layouts on a cheap notebook I picked up during back to school time for 20 cents.  Each month I experiment with a new layout until I figure out what I like.  I start with writing down my common spending areas that occur.  Groceries, Gas, Entertainment, Eating Out, Random – the area for anything else.  I’ve been tracking since July.  July was eye opening – I really didn’t have a grasp on where my money was going.  August was interesting as I saw areas from July that I could improve on but didn’t make much progress.  September – or NO Spendtember was fun even if I went over my grocery budget I shaved over $100 off spending from the month before and I still ate out a few times.

Now at the end of October – I’m going to review each of my categories.  Gas I tend to stay pretty much in check on.  Groceries I’ve been struggling with and I eat out maybe twice a month.   I think for a “budget” to work you need to be constantly reviewing it.  Understand your spending habits, identify weaknesses (store coupons for me!!), and keep evolving it until you are meeting your goals.  I review it monthly when I calculate my spending to compare with the month before but November 1st I’m going to compare the past 4 months and see what my averages are.

Do you use a budget?  I’ve tried apps like EveryDollar, YNAB, and Mint.  Mint is the first I started using and still my favorite maybe because I’ve had it for several years and I’ve evolved with their platform.  Plus Mint is free but…something about writing down my spending every day on paper also helps me.  I also keep a check list in my planner for outstanding checks so I can keep an eye on account balances.

Do you budget? Do you track your spending? Or do you have a general idea of where your money is going?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

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