Note: For the first couple of weeks of January I’m posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program. I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy!
Days 11 and 12
Today we begin to work on our spending plan. I have done this in the past off and on, but never felt hugely successful. While I was able to make a plan and get from month to month, I didn’t ever feel like I was getting ahead.
Bryan’s spreadsheets are a little different than anything I had come up with in the past, and to be honest, it was kind of fun. I have to pause here a minute and let this soak in. I, never in my entire life, have, nor ever thought I would…say that figuring out my monthly budget was fun. Most of my bills are due around the 20th of the month and it is pretty common for me to start waking up in the middle of the night panicked about my money a few days prior. It doesn’t matter if I have the money in the bank to cover things or not. This post traumatic stress syndrome is so much a part of my monthly routine that when I wake with a start, my first thought is, “What’s the date?”
So…we’ll see how this process changes things. Bryan’s demo of this spreadsheet was fluid and easy to understand, and his tips were enouraging.
1. At first you’ll forget things. Don’t sweat it.
2. It takes about 3 months to get your monthly budget down.
3. Be serious.
4. Make it your plan. (Otherwise it won’t work.)
5. Celebrate your victories. (My favorite part.)
Plug your paychecks into the spreadsheet and divvy it up amongst your expenses. When you assign some money to a bill, that amount is subtracted from your total. Once you get your spreadsheet filled in, take a look to see where you can cut costs and how you want to arrange your paycheck across your expenses. I was thrilled to see that I could be putting more money on my debt that I thought. I am pretty excited to start watching those balances tick away.
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Day 12…recording the details
I…am a big picture person. I understand details. I respect details, and when possible, I defer details. I would truly rather be at the dentist than wade through number details. (No offense Dr. Tony.)
Given this, you can probably imagine how quickly my eyes glazed over when today’s video started talking about making a separate ledger for items like eating out and car stuff. My first thought was, “How can I get around this?”
I know. That was bad. We don’t eat out. It’s not a challenge to manage our once a month pizza, so that’s one less sheet for me. My focus is paying off debt and I am not buying a thing that isn’t a necessity. When I do, I take that off the extra I am putting onto the debt. Maybe I don’t need these. I wondered, “Can I get to where I want to go without doing this part?”
I haven’t yet.
Bryan says this will take some getting used to, and to play around with it for a while. OK. I printed out my ledgers, and I’ll give it a try. Cross your fingers for me!
Let’s hear from the readers! What part to tracking expenses do you find to be the hardest?
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