Monday Musings: Confessions of a Budgeter

If budgeting is an art form, I’m working on becoming Van Gogh. Similar to his “Starry Night”, some of my strokes might seem all over the place, but it fits in to the larger picture.  

1280px-Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_Project

(Photo doesn’t belong to me. Just saying.)

I started budgeting without much seriousness in 2013. When I decided I wanted to get out of debt around 2014/2015, I kicked it up a notch and was well in to ordering my finances when my now husband and I got serious in 2016. In 2017 we paid off everything we owed everybody, and in 2018 I left my job so I could focus on other things (like trying to start a family). 

All through that process my budgeting, while better than the start, was still a little sloppy. We had our system, made sure to stay within the monthly budget, but we did a lot of moving around and rearranging every month. Usually our ‘restaurant’ category would grow while other categories took a cut. Then, as I mentioned before, I left my job.

That’s when the real fun kicked in. Now every month I break down each paycheck, and what exactly comes out of each paycheck. Down to the penny. And if there is any moving around, it’s slight. It took many years to get there, but I’m truly telling my money where to go instead of scratching my head wondering where it went.

It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I’m not here to tell other people how to live their lives, but if you’re always worried about money or struggling with debt, or trying to figure out how to make your dollars go further, I highly recommend getting on a written monthly budget. No financial situation is too weird that a monthly budget can’t help. 

Do you budget? What do you use to budget: an app, website, or good old pen and paper? (I do a combination.)

 – Melinda

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