The Birth of your Personalized Budget

The list of reasons describing why Sam and I have become such amazing friends is long (and magnificent), but one repeated element found on that list is a shared love across several aspects of our lives. For example, we both love walking while talking, we love her dogs (Okay Sam loves them more, but I like to think of myself as their favorite aunt), finding new adventures, laughing, sun-soaking, working on our fitness, and discussing the mystery of cellulite and possible ways to escape its wrath. My gushing would not be complete without mentioning our mutual and undying love for the B-word–Budget.

Our budgets are our babies, and we love them—like really, REALLY love them. We take care of them and make sure they are never malnourished or lacking. When they are looking a little thin, we might fatten them up by eliminating a tapeworm (goodbye to that gym membership that’s been used twice in the last six months) or feeding them more (think side job or selling your “stuff” that’s transformed into your “junk”). When they are bored or lame, we find a way to make them more interesting (time to find the money for a weekend getaway). Properly birthing and caring for your budget is the key to getting out of debt quickly while still finding the funds to enjoy your life right now.

The beauty of the personalized budget is that it is PERSONALIZED. It’s YOUR creation—your baby, if you will—and you get to decide where to put your money. Properly setting up and managing your budget enables to you be prepared for and determine how much money you will have left over from your paycheck, and best of all, you decide where that extra money goes. We have developed our tried and true list of four simple questions you need to ask yourself in order to create an individualized budget that suits you and what you want and need in your life:

1. What are my consistent automatic monthly payments, and how much money do they cost me?
Examples: rent, utilities, insurance, minimum debt payments.

2. Beyond my automatic monthly payments, how much money is required to fund the unique “needs” for this month?
Examples: Car expenses (gas, oil change), pet expenses, hair or doctor appointment, airfare, gifts.

3. How much cash am I using this month/pay period? What do I think is an appropriate amount for my “Fun Fund”?
Examples: Groceries and the money towards “wants” such as a pool pass, drinks or dinner, mani/pedi, shopping, etc. Unfortunately the list is long. Sam and I have one cash envelope for groceries and one for the fun stuff.

4. Where do I send my leftovers?
Examples: Emergency Fund, Side Savings (a large and known upcoming expense such as Christmas or airfare), Extra payments on your debt.

The budget is flexible, and you should be changing it whenever your life calls for it. We budget our paychecks a couple of days before they enter our bank accounts. Each pay period entails its own unique variations. You are the person who is in tune to your own long term goals and short term needs and wants, and you are the person that will know whether or not you have created a budget that will help you reach these goals in the way you desire.

Sam and I have both uploaded our own personalized budgets onto the website including the details of how and why we choose our specific plans. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all budget, and we want you to see that even though we have the same end goal and will reach it using the same principles, we are each tailoring our personalized budgets to fit our current incomes, needs, and wants. The most exciting part is we are both finding success, and if you believe in the B like we do, chances are you will too!!

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