Our Monthly Budget

Today we got talking about Dave Ramsey at the swimming pool (wait–isn’t that what you talk about the swimming pool?) and we started discussing budgets.  Brad and I have never had a “budget” in the traditional sense, but we do know how much money we make each month and what it is going to pay.  Our budget is not necessarily a perfect example, but hopefully it will help as you create a budget based on your family’s needs.  Rather than giving you the exact numbers, I’ll just give you percentages, from greatest to least:

  • 37%: Rent
  • 13%: Student Loan
  • 10%: Tithe
  • 10%: Savings*
  • 7%: Groceries*
  • 7%: Gas*
  • 5%: Retirement
  • 5%: Utilities
  • 3%: Cell Phones
  • 2%: Internet
  • 1%: Miscellaneous*

(*) = amount fluctuates

In 2008 I read The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich by David Bach.  The main idea of the book is to automate your payments (directly from your paycheck) in order to avoid the temptation to spend the money on other things.  Although we don’t automate our payments, we consider budgeted money as already spent.  So when it comes to “spending money” we get to spend 1% of Brad’s paycheck each month.

If you take a minute to review our budget, you’ll also notice some categories are missing.  We have no budget for gifts, medical expenses, insurance, home improvements, clothing, traveling, exercise, dining out, or vacations.  Often those categories are funded by borrowing from the others.  We haven’t been using all of the cash in our gas envelope these last two months, so we borrowed from it for other things.  Sometimes we have to borrow from savings or groceries.  For some larger expenses, we can often wait for our tax refund to arrive.  But most of the time God provides the money, or we have to find creative ways to earn it.  And often we have to find ways to have fun, give gifts, dine out, exercise, or improve our home for free!

Our budget is always changing and we are always trying to find more ways to save or earn money.  We’re still in the process of trying to refinance our house, and we have turned in our applications for substitute teaching.  We’re still trying to eliminate our student loan as quickly as possible, and I’ve been cleaning out the garage in an attempt to find more things to list on Amazon or Craigslist.

 Have you tried using a budget for your family?  What type of budget works well for you?

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2 Responses to “Our Monthly Budget”

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