Friday, April 22, 2016

Quick and Dirty Guide - Budgeting 101

This is a quick and dirty guide for those of us with ADD that have a problem with impulse control.
Okay, this is a quick and dirty guide for everyone who ever bought anything from This is Why I'm Broke. (Pro tip, use this site as a guide but google the items for a lower price.)


A budget is not set in stone. If you go over on your budget, you are not a bad person. If you end up with zero dollars available on the Wednesday before the Friday you get paid - you are not a failure - but you may need to reconsider your definitions of want and need.

The following guide looks a lot like what old school check balancing looks like and you might be tempted to say, "HEY! MY BANK DOES THIS FOR ME!" Why do I need to recreate what they've already got down?
But, does your bank really do it for you? Is it always up to date? Does it really curb your impulsive spending? Unless you're using Simple, Mint, or the YNAB app you probably are going to need to develop a budget for yourself that is not connected via the internet to your bank account. While this guide is good for everyone, it's extremely important for people who deal with impulse control to have something they can quickly and easily refer to that lets them know where their spending is at.
(Believe me, I've bought my fair share of $7 lamps thinking that it was okay.)

Let's get started!

We're going to use our Hypothetical Friend Susie who gets paid on Fridays and who's rent is due on the 1st of the month to answer the questions below:

1. How much do you bring home a month from all sources of income (after taxes)?
2. What are your bills and on average how much are they?
3. What do you spend on groceries?
4. What do you spend on transportation?
5. What is the total you spend on regular necessities? (Cigarettes, Coffee, Breakfast - anything you buy on the regular that is not one of the above.)

I've made a quick little Spreadsheet on Google Docs
It's not pretty, and it's not awesome. I'm trusting you to make yours awesome.

Or you can just do this on paper.

Take some time to fill it out using your information, or at least take a quick look at it to get an idea of what you need to be doing.

Now, it looks like with her total normal expenses only being about 1400 bucks a month and her making 1980 bucks a month, well dang! She has about $566 just floating around to do whatever with right?


And this is where the DAILY BUDGET part is so friggen important. Figuring out what you can actually spend daily and getting all of your actual bills taken care of is KEY. Once you plug those numbers in a) it's depressing and b) it makes you realize that even though for the month you may have $566 available, you don't have access to that all at once. If you find out that your 'regular necessities' are putting you over your daily budget...You should re-evaluate if they're a necessity or a luxury.

This is why I quit smoking, folks.

In my bullet journal I have three spaces for budgeting. One is a cute little box that has my day's budget number in it, next to it is a box to check if I stayed in budget, and the other space is just to write down what I've spent that day - checkbook style. If you're not a bullet journal person, try using Google Spreadsheets and updating it throughout the day. I highly suggest doing this on paper, but using the spreadsheet on your phone/tablet/desktop is fine as well.

I know at the end of the day if I have to X out the budget square next to my daily total that it's time to REBALANCE my budget. This is something I do 2-3 times a week. Because I go over. Because I am human.

I know that this is very, very basic. I know, but I had to break it down Barney style for myself and it was the only way I started to get a handle on things. I hope that this helps you figure your budget out and let me know in the comments if there's something you do that helps you track what you spend.


  1. I am going to have to incorporate a cute box into my bujo for meeting my daily budget goals! When I read that in your post, I got that happy feeling you get when you read something that is both genius and almost perfect in it's simplicity. I'm so glad that I saw your post on the BuJo Google Plus page! Thank you for the awesome idea.

    1. Your comment just made my day! I'm so glad that I could share something that clicked with you. For me, having that number there in front of me all day keeps me mindful of what I'm spending! Thanks for your comment Heidi!


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