Thursday, June 9, 2011

Credit Report Update

It is finally figured out.  We received word back from the three agencies saying that everything was ours but they gave us a updated phone number so we could actually call about it.  We have paid off the amount even though we still feel that there was an error on the companies part put the company won't talk to us because they closed our account.  We are just happy to get it off of our record and are thankful that it really wasn't very much money.

There was somethings that we did wrong.  We had thought we had changed the address for this credit card and I guess that we didn't.  Second when the bill didn't come I should have done some more investigation so this wouldn't happen.

It is funny in this day and age that they said they couldn't find us.  No bill not even from the collections agency?

Check your credit report and don't feel bad if there is something on it, it happens sometime just get it taken care of sooner then later.  I would love to hear about your stories so please leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Credit Report

You all have a credit score and how it all works well, who truly knows but I would like to give out some information to help you know how to look at your credit report and how to dispute something.

My husband and I were checking his credit score and found some discrepancies on his report.  I of course took this personally.  I take care of all of our financial everything so this felt like my grade had come in and that I didn't study.  He called and checked on both.  They were errors that needed to be fixed and his score should recover a month after it was taken off.

Things that you need to know:

1.  You should check your credit score once a year (which is free) at
2. Look through all of the report make sure that you have all of the accounts that it says you do and if there are ones that are discrepancies take care of them.  They have phone numbers that you can call.
3. They will tell you that you can only write the credit reporting agencies and that you can't call or e-mail which is not true.  On the three reporting agencies websites you can go on and report an issue and you can actually do this when you are viewing your repot.  Which is the best way to go about it because if you go to their site they might ask you for a report number that you won't have unless you paid for your report.
4.  They have 30-45 days to respond to you.  They give you a confirmation number and will e-mail you the results.  Sometimes you will have to end up disputing it through the mail, but they give you the reasons and what would need to be mailed if that was the case.
5.  If you check your credit it doesn't effect your credit score.  I always thought that it did but it doesn't and you can do it as many times in a year as you would like. Don't pay more than $30 for all three reports together.

We haven't herd back about our disputes but I will keep you posted as to what happens.  Hopefully you don't have to deal with this or if you do that it can be taken care of quickly.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Coupon Adventure

I have decided to get into couponing more or I guess start again.  I used to get the paper free from our apartment complex but that stopped a couple of years ago and I just didn't want to pay for the paper.  Then my library had coupons so that is how I would do a little couponing to save some money.  We moved across town and my library doesn't have coupons so I have decided to start buying them on ebay.  Have any of you done this before?

I am now going to be figuring out if this is worth it or not and what price is actually reasonable.  My husband is skeptical of this but is supportive of me figuring out if this is really worth it for our family.

I am trying to cut costs where I can with food and gas going up.   I would love to hear what you have been doing to save money.

Free Class Canceled

I have decided to cancel the free class because I had no takers on coming.  If you ever become interested in having help please let me know and we can arrange something.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Date Set for Free Class

Mark your calendars for April 28 at 7:30pm  I have room in the class for 7 couples.  Please leave a comment if you would like to join us and make sure you leave your e-mail so that I can give you the address and what you need to bring.

Remember that this is for those in the Kalamazoo area.  We will be working on setting up your budget.  This class is only for those that are using my budget.  We will have future classes that it doesn't matter what you are using.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Free Class Update

I just wanted to let you all know that there is still plenty of room for more people to come to the free class.  I have not set the date yet because I have had a hiccup come up in my personal life so it will be like the middle to end of April.

I am so sorry if this is inconvenient.  If you have questions remember to leave comments or to e-mail me and I will get back to you very soon.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Free Class

Do you need more help?  Are you scared to start, or just feel overwhelmed by the process?
If you live in the Kalamazoo area or want to travel here leave a comment with your e-mail address and we can arrange a time and place to meet and turn you into a successful budgeter.

The class is free, I can answer all your question and help you to feel good about doing it on your own. All you need to do is make sure that you have purchased the budget before the class.  If you decide on the group class you can have your own budget and do not need to purchase mine.

I can hold a group class, one on one, or if you would like both.

Leave a comment with what you would prefer and we can get it arranged for sometime this month.

When Should I Budget

I usually find an evening once or twice a week to sit down with my budget.  I put in my receipts, look over my bank and credit card accounts to make sure that I didn't miss anything.  I balance my check book and then tell my honey how good or bad we are doing and what we have in savings.

It takes me about 30min.  Even if we aren't doing the best with our budget I come away feeling good.  I know where we stand financially and we try to talk about what we need to do for the rest of the month and maybe what needs to be done differently for the following month.

I would make sure that the kids are in bed.  My husband is usually watching a movie and then I have him pause it for 5 min and we talk, regroup and try harder.

Getting Motivated

I have been thinking about what motivates me to budget and what I might be able to tell you that will help you to stay motivated.

What made me motivated at first was that we didn't have enough money so I new that I needed to be on top of  it so we didn't get in trouble.

Now that we aren't wondering where the next paycheck is coming from I am trying to pay debt and build savings.  Again so we don't get into financial trouble.

What if you don't have debt, you are making decent money, how can you become motivated?

Start playing the what if game.
What if I lost my job and couldn't find one that made as much money?
What if one of us had a serious illness would it break us?
What if there was a natural disaster do I have money saved so I can find shelter and food for my family?
What if (this I think about sometimes) my husband became disabled and I had to work, I am not going to make as much as he does.
What if we can't find renters?
What if my job can't pay my tuition bill?
What if what happened to my sister and her husband happens to us?

I don't want you to become worried I want you to become prepared.  Have faith if you do what you can Heavenly Father will take care of the rest.  Talk with your spouse make some goals. Saving a little goes a long way.

Debt can come on unexpectedly having savings will save you from the burden of going into debt.  If you budget you will make sure that you save because you are accounting for your spending.

I am a firm believer that Heavenly Father blesses us each but also teaches us as well.  Each one of us will have financially hard times and financially easier times.  Be prepared, and be smart with your money you will feel at peace.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Little More on Saving

Now that you have your budget up and running you might be wondering how to save money in different areas because you really wish you weren't spending $500 each month on food for 2 people.  These are a few things that I am doing or have done before to help save money each month.

I like to use coupons.  I am not a huge coupon-er but if it will save me some money on the things that I already buy each month I will do it.  I use Hip2Save, it is a great site and tells you everything that you need to know about couponing.  Just remember that it is only a good deal if you have the money to do it.

Meal planning is helpful even if it is just for dinner each month.  I have found that if I meal plan for a month and shop for a week it works out the best for me.  Look through the adds and your cupboards and see what you can come up with.  A couple of sites that I like to use for recipes are: Our Best Bites, Your Home Based Mom, Mel's Kitchen Cafe.   Keep a list of what you need and remember the more often you go to the grocery store the more you usually will spend, so try to keep it to once a week.

If eating out is something you are trying to limit try making freezer meals or using your crockpot more.  You will save a lot a money and probably some weight as well so it is a win win situation.  The above sites have several meals that can be frozen or put in the crockpot.  To start a little slower you can brown your hamburger all at once and divide up and freeze.  I also have used a cookbook called "Dinner is Ready".  It gives recipes and instruction on how to buy, prep, and prepare 30 meals in one day.  I have not been able to do this because of limited freezer space but I have tried a lot of the meals and they are great!

Go to discount food stores.  They aren't just for poor people they are for everyone and they have a lot of great products.  I like to go to Aldi and they even have a guarantee that if you don't like the product they will replace the item and give your money back.

Take your calculator.  If you are going to try and stay in your budget it will help if you calculate as you go eliminating the stress of the total at the end of shopping.  If you go to Sam's or Costco make sure that you are only buying things that are truly a good deal.  Just because they sell it in bulk doesn't mean that it is going to save you money.  Find the deals and stick with those don't just get everything all in one place because it is convenient especially if you have to drive a distance to get it.

Keep track of what kind of prices are at each store.  I usually have this in my head but sometimes I have had to write it down.  I have found that I go to Aldi and get the basics, Sam's to get meat and some produce, Meijer for sale items, and Walmart for the rest.  If I do it in that order I know that I am getting the best deal.


Look into the book series "Tightwad Gazette" (remember to look at your local library for these books).  They are great books that give you helpful ways to save money on everything.  Some of the things that I have used from the books was every time you flush the toilet it is the same as taking a 10 min. shower so we used the if its brown flush it down if it is yellow let it mellow.  We spent $20 less a month then our neighbors who usually spent about $50 in water each month. We were living in an apartment at the time.

They talk about making homemade wipes, how to repair lots of different things using what you have around the house, and recipes as well.

It might be obvious to turn off the lights when you leave a room but what about unplugging things?  I know that it is unrealistic to do that every time you leave a room but what about when you go on vacation or if you rarely use the appliance.  Even if the item is not on it is using a little bit of electricity because it is ready for you to use at any point.

Don't turn your heat or your air on and off.  Keep it on, if you turn it off and on it takes more energy to get your house to the right temperature then it does if you keep the air on and open the windows.  If it is cooler outside then it will cool your house and the air won't come on. The same goes for your heat.  You might be thinking "well if it isn't going to turn on why not shut the air off?" Well because usually we don't remember to turn it back on until it is really hot in the house so it takes more work to cool off.

Clothing/ Household items

Go to thrift stores.  It is fun and you save a lot of money.  It does take some digging sometimes but you can find some great deals. I know that the last Saturday of each month Goodwill has half off a lot of their store.

Buy items at stores that have good return policies like Kohls or Lands End.  They will return items anytime and it doesn't mater how long you have had the item.  My husband bought a pair of shoes and a couple of months later there was a hole in them.  They just gave us new shoes and since they didn't carry his any longer he got the newer model.  We now try to buy things at these stores because we know in the end we will be saving a lot of money.

Craigslist.  We use this all the time.  We have used their free section and have gotten some great things.  The trick is you need to set it up so it comes to you in your e-mail so you can be the first to respond because free items go quick.

Sign up for a stores e-mails.  This is when I find out they are having sales and then I know when to go to their stores or when I should shop online.  You can also get coupons this way as well.

For Diapers I use Amazon.  I sign up for the subscribe and save program and I get about 30% off on diapers.  This is cheaper then Sam's Club.  I can set it up so it comes once a month or every other month and I never have to go to the store to get diapers.  I wish they had more things that were as great of a deal because then I wouldn't have to go to the store so much.

Yard Sale.  I have found that the best sales are the neighborhood sales.  Just talk with your friends and usually they can tell you when their neighborhood sale is.   You can get some great deals and you don't have to do a lot of driving.  There are two great times to go, as soon as they open because you get the best stuff and latter in the day because they will give you things for 1/2 off or free.   


If you have a g-mail account you can place calls from your computer (if you have speakers) for free as long as it is in the United States.  I have been doing this for a little while and so far it is great.  The only down fall is that you have to have your computer on and your account open to receive calls.

If you have an iphone you can get apps that let you call for free if you have Wireless internet.  Usually all you have to do is give out the number they give you and people can call you and even leave messages.  I know some apps it will come through your cell line if you are not in an area that has the internet.

Skype.  This is a free service if you are calling in the United states.  This also lets you  see the person that you are talking to.  You need a web cam, and some speakers and you are set.

There are lots of things out there to save you money.  Just look at books and the internet and usually you can find something to help you save money.  Just make sure that you research everything so you don' get scammed.  Let me know if you have a way that you like to save money or if you have any questions about saving money that I can answer for you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Word to the Wise

When you go to spend money you need to look at what you have left in your budget and next do you have money in your bank account?  You shouldn't ever look at your bank account and say "I have plenty of money to spend", when you are over in your budget.  You will get yourself into a hole that you wish you would have never gotten yourself into.

Keep up a current check register.  I know that everything is online now, but you still need to know what hasn't come through so you will know how much you actually have to spend in your account. 

This might all be foreign to you but in the end it will bring you peace of mind and you will sleep better at night I promise!!!!!!

Saving Two Paychecks a Year

That is right and you all can do it.

First if you get paid every two weeks then this will be a little easier for you.  As you are using your budget you will find that you live on a monthly basis.  Each month you need the same amount of money but two months out of the year, usually April and October, you receive 3 checks.

From using the budget you will notice that these two checks become extra money and will go into your savings anyways.

What I suggest is to keep your very first 3rd paycheck in your checking account.  This will help make using the budget easier because you always have money in your checking account.  Another reason is you won't have to worry about paying overdraft fees on your account because there will always be money in your account.

This is also how you can get your emergency fund as well.  That money is there and will always be there so if needed for an emergency it will be in your checking account and then can be replenished slowly or when the next 3rd paycheck comes along. It might be that it takes both 3rd paychecks to get to your $1000 goal but you are working toward it and some emergency fund is better then none.

Lets say that you get paid on a weekly, semimonthly, or monthly basis.

For weekly I would suggest that you save every 5th paycheck that you get in a month.  It works out to be 4 months out of the year and will equal out to a  1 months worth of extra income.

If you are paid semimonthly (1st and 15th) there are a couple of ways to figure it out. For ease we are going to say that you make $1000 every paycheck.

1.  $1000*2 pay periods= $2000 monthly income
      $2000/24 pay periods= $83.50 (you divide it by 24 because that is the number of pay periods you have each year)

Total = $83.50 needs to be saved each paycheck

2.  This way is if you would like to save as much as someone that was getting paid every two weeks (less being saved)
$1000*2 pay periods= $2000 monthly savings
$2000*12 months= $24,000
$24,000/ 26 pay periods= $923.08 (this is how many pay periods in a year there are for someone who gets paid every two weeks)
$923.08*2 pay periods=  $1846.16 ( you multiply it by 2 pay periods because that is how many checks you will save in a year)
$1846.16/ 24 pay periods= $76.92 (24 pay periods is how many pay periods you have in a year)

Total= $76.92 needs to be saved each paycheck

If you are paid monthly I would save a weeks worth of pay on the months that have 5 weeks in them, you can also just save 1/5 of you check, or you can take your monthly income divide it by 12 and you get how much you need to save each month.

I hope that this is helpful to you and that you are able to save a little bit more than you thought was possible by having a budget.

Emergency Savings

Saving money isn't always an easy thing.  I agree it is hard and sometimes I would just rather buy something then save that money for something better.

What about those of you who live paycheck to paycheck, you try and you think "if I could get this bill paid off then I will be in a better place" but then another bill comes in to take its place and you aren't getting anywhere.

I feel your frustration and I am hoping that I can help.

First thing that needs to happen is get, what Dave Ramsey would call, an EMERGENCY FUND.  You are probably thinking "if I have no money to save how can I get an emergency fund?"


Use your tax refund money or find an extra job do whatever it takes to get this.

It should be at least $1000 and this is why.  If you have one of those surprising bills more than likely you can pay for it with $1000.   Don't use this money to pay off existing debt, don't go on a trip, or find a really good sale, save this money.  It needs to be there when a real emergency comes.  Examples: furnace breaks, car accident, medical emergency, funeral, etc.

What will happen is that you will pay off your debt and be able to stay out of debt because of this fund.

Lets say that you used some of your emergency fund then you need to figure out how to replace it.  It might take a little time but keep it going.

You might find that your family needs more than this and that is okay.  You need to figure out what is best for your family and stick with it.  Budgeting and getting to a better financial wellness isn't going to happen unless you are able to do something that you and your family will be able to make work.   Also remember that this isn't going to be easy so don't give up because it is hard.  Hard things make strong people so don't let yourself stop.

If you are still having a hard time finding the money for an emergency fund don't give up hope just yet.  In my next post I will talk about another way that could get you back on track and would take less effort and stress.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Do I Track What I Spend?

To affectively use your budget you need to track what you spend.  You might be thinking "that is what my budget is for" and you are right but the information has to come from some place.

Keep your receipts
       - easier said then done, right!  I usually keep my receipts in my wallet and then pull them out when I budget.  I ask my husband to try and keep his receipts as well but sometimes I never get them.  Things happen I lose them, the store doesn't give me one, or a number of other things. Below are some other ways to use as well to help.

Look at your bank and credit card statements
     - I also look at my statements throughout the month online.  This way I can stay on track and I also make sure that nothing fraudulent is going on in my accounts.

Write it down
    - if they don't give me a receipt I try and write it down on another receipt or at least where I spent money so I know what to look for on one of my statements.

Each month you will find something that you have forgotten to put into the budget.  Figure out what it is and see if there is a way to stop it from happening next month.

Lets say that your problem is when you spend cash, this was something I ran into, what I did was I took the money out of one of my categories and then when I actually spent it I didn't worry about the receipt.  It is really hard to keep track of $.50 for this or $2 for that.

Sometimes you just can't help that you can't find a receipt but don't feel bad try again next month and remember if you go over your budget it happens.  You probably would have spent a lot more if you didn't budget so look at the big picture, you are getting better.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Budget Instructions

            *As you are entering information don’t worry you can’t mess up the workbook.  I have protected it so all of the formulas and certain text cannot be changed.

1.     Open the Excel Workbook Small Budget 2011 or Large Budget 2011. Go to Save As and save the workbook where and what you would like.
2.     Click on the sheet (at bottom of page) that says January.

3.     You will see the green heading that says “January 2011” at the top of the page, right below is four blue boxes. In each one of the blue boxes you need to put in one of your list categories like food, gas, etc.  

4.     Right below the blue boxes you will see “Date & Place” in the box right next to it you will put in how much you have budgeted for the category that you have listed above it (in the blue box). Repeat this in the other long boxes (picture below).

      At the very bottom of each of the boxes you will see the total and next to it the same amount as you entered above.  As you enter in purchases this number at the bottom will get smaller to show you how much you have left in that category for the month.  This is the same for every other box in your budget.

5.     Below the four long boxes there is five smaller boxes with a blue section.  In each one of these boxes you need to put in one of your bill categories.  These should be your utilities, mortgage/ rent, phone, etc.

6.     Below those boxes there are 14 boxes with purple heading areas.  This is for your “first savings”, which is the savings that you will take out at the beginning of each month or when you are able to during the month.  In the “first savings” boxes put in things like car insurance, life insurance, oil changes, savings, anything that you will need to save for.

7.     Next go to the green box that says “Income”. This is where you put in any money that you have earned.

8.     Next to the Income box is “Withdrawal from monthly savings” you can put in purchases that you have made that you would have used your savings for.

9.     Go back to the heading January 2011 there is a box that says total budgeted, under budget, and total Income.  This will show through out the month how much you have budgeted for the month, how much you still have in your budget for the month (under budget), and how much income you have made for the month.

10.  Next to that you will see first savings, Extra savings, and Total Savings.  First savings is the sum of all of the purple boxes.  Extra savings is any money that you have left over, so if you are under your budget or have left over money that you don’t use from your income it goes into extra savings.  Total savings it just the sum of first and extra savings.

11.  Repeat this for each month, you can always go back and change any category later if you would like.

 12.  Next go to the savings sheet you will see "category" listed under the heading "Savings 2011".  Under category you will put in the categories from your first savings and any additional savings categories that you would like to have.  Example would be car insurance deductible.  You might not save for this each month because you already have all of the money there.

      As you enter the categories they will then appear below next to the “Date, What, and Amount”.  After you put in the category you can enter in the goal you have for each category, you can leave this blank if you don't have one.  At the top you will see the total in red.  This is how much you have in savings and should match your savings account. 

13.  Now each time you want to add or take away from you savings you would put it in your savings log. An example is if you were putting in your first savings for the month you would put the date under "date", under "what" you would put first savings, and under "amount" you would put the total amount of first savings. 

Then you would put in the amount that should go in each category under the category.  At the end of the row you will see a total it should match the amount you put in at the beginning.

      Lets say that to make things easier you decided that you were going to get an oil change and instead of moving the money from your savings account you decided to just take it from your "Withdrawal from Monthly Savings".  That will work just fine.  Below is a picture of how you would need to enter that into the savings worksheet.

      Under "What" put in Oil Change Monthly Savings.  Under "Amount" you would put in $0 because nothing is being added to your savings account, the money is just being moved from the Oil Change category to your Savings category.

14.  Next go to the Yearly overview.  What is nice about this is it just gives you a summary of what is going on in your budget for the year and you don’t have to enter in any information.  You can look back at it to compare how you did month by month.

If you have any problems you can always e-mail me or leave a comment.  I am more than willing to help you however I can.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Picking A Budget

I am selling two budgets, they both are the same, but one is just larger for those that need more space.

If you decided to do something on your own this can be a good example of what can be done and hopefully will help you create your budget.

The first budget is called "Small Budget 2011" ($10).  It is the smaller budget.  Below is a picture of one of the months so you can get an idea.

The 4 long boxes with blue headings are for your "List Categories", food, gas, etc.
Next row of boxes are 5 areas for your "Bill Categories", utilities, rent, etc.
The next three rows of purple boxes are for your "Savings Categories", life insurance, oil changes, etc.

This is how each month looks and at the bottom of the page you can see where you can click on each month.
Below is close up pictures of the budget so you have a better idea of what the budget has to offer you.

The budget also includes a Savings Worksheet (picture is below).

With the savings worksheet you will be able to keep track of each one of your savings categories.  This will be a great resource so that you will always know where you are at with saving for each category.  It will also help with keeping track of when and what you spent your savings on.

The last thing that the budget has is a Yearly Overview.  This worksheet is great.  You don't have to fill in any information on this page you can just go and look at it to assess how well you are doing with your budget for each month and for the year.  Picture below.

The larger budget is called "Large Budget 2011" ($15).  Below is a pictures of what it looks like.

This budget gives 7 areas for your "List Categories"
14 boxes for  your "Bill Categories"
21 boxes for your "Savings Categories"

*For bigger pictures of the larger budget just refer to the smaller budget they are very close, the larger one just has more lines.

Once you have decided on which one you can purchase the budget at the right through PayPal.  After you have paid you will get an e-mail in 1-2 business days with the budget in it.  Come back to Budget Buzz and follow the rest of the directions and you will be ready to budget.

If you would like, look over the next couple of posts which give the complete directions to the budget.  This should answer any questions that you have about it. If you still have questions leave a comment or e-mail me your questions and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How to Get Started

The first thing that you need to do to start a budget is get all your numbers together.  What I mean by this is make a list of everything you spend your money on.  Like food, rent, loans, etc.  Below is a list of things that I have come up with, you can also go to Davey Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" book in the back he has worksheets and it lists a lot of the same things and more.

Savings ____________
Emergency Fund _____
Mortgage ___________
Home Repairs ________
Electricity ____________
Water ______________
Gas ________________
Phone ______________
Cell Phone __________
Trash ______________
Cable ______________
Grocery _____________
Restaurants __________
Car payments _________
Gas/ Oil _____________
Repairs/ Tires ________
Car insurance _________
License/ Plates ________
Clothing ______________
Health Insurance _______
Copayments ______________
Dentist _____________
Prescriptions ________
Life Insurance ________
Baby-sitter ___________
Toiletries ___________
Cosmetics __________
Hair care ____________
Retirement ___________
College Fund ___________
Education/ Adult _________
School Supplies __________
Subscriptions ___________
Gifts ____________
Organization Dues ________
Entertainment ________
Vacation ____________
Credit card debt ________
Student Loans __________
Other Loans ____________

Next you need to make sure that each one of these categories is divided up into monthly payments.  Then you need to figure out which ones you need to save for.  Example, lets say that you pay your car insurance every six months well you would divide that amount by 6 and that is how much you need to put away each month to save for your car insurance.

The goal is to make sure that you have accounted for everything, now when the car insurance comes due you aren't trying to figure out how to come up with the money or have to make monthly payments which will usually make your premium more.

After you have divided everything up total it.  This is how much your family needs to survive for a month.  Now ask your self a couple of questions.  Are we making enough money?  Are you being realistic with how much you spend on food or gas?  If you aren't making enough money you either need to cut in a couple of areas or you need to figure out a way to earn some extra so you can cover your bills.

Sometimes it is hard to know exactly how much each category needs to be until you have been doing your budget for a couple of months.  You might find that you spend more or less so it is okay to change the amount budgeted.  But once you have figured out that magic number don't change it each month try to stick to it.  This will help you save more.

I want you to take your categories and classify each under one of the following: Savings, bills, and list items.  Savings would be anything that you need to save for: life insurance, car insurance, sam's club membership, monthly savings, oil changes, etc.  Bills are mortgage, utilities, loans, credit cards, cable, phone, etc.  List items are items that need several lines to list everything you bought in the month like food, gas, house hold items, clothing, children, etc.

Once you have this done you are ready to start your budget.  The next post I will give you step by step instructions on how to use my personal budget.  It is for sale in two different sizes small ($10) and large ($15).  It gives you 12 months, savings, and a yearly overview all in an excel workbook.  If this is something that doesn't work for you you can always make your own.  You can find a software program, make an excel spreadsheet, use pen and paper, or the envelope system (you just write your categories on an envelope and put your money in each one.  Once the money is gone you can't spend anything more because you don't have it.)

Remember the goal is to be successful at budgeting so do what works for you.  Sometimes starting off really simple works the best and then as you become better at budgeting you can add to it or purchase something more complex that fits your needs.

Good Luck!!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why You Should Budget

        Budgeting is important because each person should be able to know what is going on with their money.  You might be doing well without a budget but you will do better if you have a budget.  Having a budget gives you the ability to save more money, track what you actually spend your money on, and gives you the peace of mind that you are on track with your financial goals.

          You might still disagree with having a budget and usually you don't start a budget unless something is going wrong with your finances.  But the important thing is you are reading this and that means that you will change the way you managing your money.

There are a couple of myths or what I would say are myths that I have heard from teaching budgeting classes or just talking to people individually about budgeting.

1. I can't afford to budget right now or my income is inconsistent so it would be too hard
              If you are saying this you needed to start yesterday!  I remember saying this when we should have been budgeting.  When I went back and looked at what we had spent on food for the month it was $100 more then what we had been spending with a budget.  My point is that when you budget you spend your money in a more effective way and are able to focus on spending it on more important things. 

            When people say this to me I am thinking you either have a lot of bills or you aren't making enough money.  First if you have a lot of bills budgeting will help you to pay off your bills sooner, again because you are spending your money in a more effective way.  Second if you income is inconsistent it can be more stressful to budget but just because your income is inconsistent doesn't mean that your bills are.  You still have to buy food and get the things necessary to live.  If you had a budget you would make sure you aren't overspending and you would know exactly how much you need to bring in to cover the needs of your family.

2. I will have to give something up.
           You really don't.  Usually if you aren't budgeting you are spending money on things you wish you wouldn't have.  If you were to budget you might actually have more money to spend on the things that you love.

           Sometimes this is not the case and you have to give up something so you can pay off a bill or live within your means but the great thing is you are making your budget so you get to decide what you keep and get rid of. 

3. I am too old.
           You are never too old to start to budget.  It is really important that you have good control of your fiances when you are older because you might be on a fixed income and aren't able to make more money.  Another reason to be wise with your money is because illness can come and you might need the funds to help pay doctors bills.

4.  I am too busy or it takes too much time.
           It does take time to budget but it is time well spent.  Don't cheat yourself by not budgeting because you feel like it takes too much time.  You will feel at peace once it is done and the stress of financial worries will be gone. 

          Budgeting gives you the freedom to not live paycheck to paycheck it doesn't matter how much you make.  It will help you to build wealth so you are able to achieve your financial goals in life.  You don't have to be one of those people that are really tight with their money if you budget.  You just have to be the kind of person that feels it is important to have control over your money and not let your money control over you.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


This blog is going to talk about budgeting and everything that you might need to be successful at it. It can be hard to start budgeting and my hope is that this blog will help you stay motivated and on track so that you can save money and improve your overall financial wellness.

Please feel free to leave comments or e-mail me your questions and I will answer them to the best of my ability.