If You Think A Budget Doesn’t Work, You’re Doing It Wrong

Budget

It sounds so trite, but no one gets ahead financially without a budget. It’s like a law of nature. If you are not getting control of your money, I bet you don’t have one.
I can hear the complaints going up now. “Budgets are crap. They don’t work. I tried one once and it was a disaster.’ I believe you. But the problem was with you. You did it wrong.
I’ve worked with hundreds of people. I know what I’m talking about. Most of the time, it goes something like this. One member of the family makes a budget and presents it to the family. Usually it starts with the house and car payments, then credit cards, electricity, gas, maybe gasoline, etc. At the end, after they total everything, what’s leftover goes for groceries. And it’s usually about $25 a week for a family of four.
Even though groceries were budgeted last, they go grocery shopping early in the week and spend over $100. On Friday or Saturday, they go out to eat and blow another $60 and the budget is over.
If that describes you, don’t beat yourself up. You’re in good company. It happens to most people. The problem isn’t with budgets, you’ve just done it wrong. When you do a budget the right way, it’s much easier to make it work.
First, sit down together if possible. Even if one partner does the budget, get the other person’s buy in. If a couple are not together, it won’t work. Write the budget down on paper. Write it in pencil in case you need to erase. Don’t put it in your laptop, phone or tablet. Write it out. You’re trying to master your finances not practice your typing or software skills. Besides, writing this stuff down makes it feel more real. It really does.
I created a set of forms for my wife and I to do our budget. I had two budget forms in that set. I had a basic budget form to use while we were in debt. Then I had another one for after debt. Each of them had everything on a single page. I believed then and believe now, that if I can’t do my budget on a single page, I’m not going to do it.
Note: If you want one, I’ll send you a free .pdf of the basic form. You can make as many copies as you need. Just do one of two things, either use the Contact Us button, and ask for a budget form, or send an email to me at sam@samburtonpresents.com. Make sure you include your email address.
The method to doing a budget begins with a 4-category plan. It’s that simple.
1. God. I really believe that unless we give first, before we spend, we’ll never get control of our funds. B and I are Christians. We believe that God gets the best of the first and the first of the best. We give 10%. We started with 5% because our debt load was so bad. I’ll tell that story later. If you don’t believe in God, I urge you to consider Him. Feel free to email any questions you have, and I’ll try to answer them. But, find a charity, some cause you believe in and give.
2. Food. You’ve got to eat. You’re going to eat. If you don’t you’ll starve. And if you don’t eat right you’ll be unable to function properly at work. If you’re in debt, make it a basic budget. Don’t be buying T Bones and Lobster if you owe big car payments and Credit Card companies. Make your budget more basic until you break the debt trap. I’ll share details of how we did it in a future post.
3. Household expenses. Your family, you know, spouse, children, your dog Muffin, they all like having a roof over their heads, so budget your house payment next, followed by electricity, gas and insurance. Don’t budget things like phone bill, cable, and internet at this time. They are luxuries and don’t count yet.
4. Transportation. You must get to work to earn money. You need a car. You don’t need a car payment. If you have one right now, so be it. You have to put gas and oil in it and have it insured. You don’t need a new car. I don’t care who you are, you don’t need a new car. Go ahead, argue with me, but you don’t need one.
These 4 things occupy what I call your perimeter. These things are the must haves. And they should be budgeted in this order. These are must haves. Netflix is not a must have.
If you will begin your budget with these items, in this order, you’ll be way ahead of the rest of the pack. And, like I said earlier, just contact me if you want my basic family budget form absolutely free.
You rock. You can totally win.

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