Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Let's Talk About: Budgets

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Budgets, what a terrible buzz kill right? That's what I used to think when I was young and foolish. Now I think budgets are AWESOME. I'm serious guys, budgets don't have to be lame and super restrictive! I'm obviously no expert on these types of things but here's how Dave and I did it and didn't kill each other.

It all started when I stumbled across this website and started reading about a thing called The Spending Diet. Ugh. That title did not appeal to me at all, but I had read about how other bloggers had found it super helpful and inspiring so I thought eh, I'll at least read about it. Well it WAS super helpful and inspiring so I talked it over with Dave. Now Dave has been subtly trying to get me on a budget with him for years now so he was pretty psyched when he heard the word "budget" enthusiastically come out of my mouth. That night we sat down and figured out how this sucker was gonna work.

What we did first was make a list of all the things we had to spend our money on, things like rent, groceries, and bills. Then we made a list of wants or things that we didn't really have to spend our money on. For us these included things like new clothes, dinners/drinks out, Starbucks, trips to the thrift store (GASP!), magazines, and new makeup. Then we added things like personal hygiene and haircuts to the needs list, because a girl needs soap and a haircut right?

Now if you had some serious debt to pay off, or wanted to save a lot of money very quickly, I guess you would only spend money on your needs. But like I said, this is how Dave and I managed a budget without killing each other so we obviously didn't do that. Instead, we allotted $150 to each of us for personal spending for the month. So anytime I wanted to get Starbucks  buy a magazine, or go out for drinks, it would have to come out of my personal spending.

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Well the first day of our budget I went to Goodwill and spent $35. Which before the budget I wouldn't have thought twice about, but now I had used up a good chunk of my money on only the first day and probably on things I didn't really need. It really made me stop and think about what I was choosing to spend my money on. Things like Starbucks, magazines, and makeup no longer seemed important if it meant I wouldn't be able to afford a hotel to stay over for my friend's wedding. It was really eye opening.

Another great thing that the budget brought back was buying each other treats. Dave and I have  a joint account so when he buys me ice cream I'm really just paying for it too. But this month when we would use some of precious $150 to buy each other something it meant a lot more than it did before, so that was a nice added bonus.

All in all this budget thing is AWESOME. I feel like it's something my parents would be very proud of me for (you know, if I was 12 and still cared about that kind of thing). I'm not gonna lie, it's really hard too, having to pass up on buying lunch with work friends, or not grabbing a chocolate croissant on the way home from work because you're pmsing so bad and you just need some chocolate asap. But it's totally worth it, we ended up saving DOUBLE what we saved the month prior.

CHA CHING!

Some people think budgets are only good if you're trying to save money to help pay off debts. Not true! Dave and I are in a really fortunate position as we don't (currently) have any debt or student loans to pay off, so the money we've been saving is going right into our house/europe/baby fund. So why would we go on a budget if we're already saving a little money every month? To save even more money for the house/europe/baby fund! (That was pretty obvious wasn't it?)

So are you on a budget?

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