I am in a great mood today and want to try to spread some confidence. I know life can be hard, and finances makes it a lot harder than it has to be. My wife, myself, and our 3 month old baby live on a single income with no assistance other than renting a house that is based on my income. I make about $33,000 a year with base salary, benefits, and commissions. Yes, we may not be in the best situation, and we don’t have the most or nicest things, but even with our low income it’s still possible for us to live, and even save! We pay close to $300 extra on my car every month and expect to pay it off next summer 3 years short of maturity. Most importantly though, we are happy.
I’m no expert, and nowhere near perfect but here are some tips I have for budgeting:
- Actually do it every month, there is no way you can just copy and paste it from month to month
- Keep it simple, we like to line item everything we have, instead of food $600 we have groceries $300, monthly restaurant $26, emergency fast food $30, farm produce $24, and so on. When you have a small line item you are more careful with what you have on paper
- Keep an overflow, but not too much. We usually keep about $50 each month for that inevitable “oh no, I forgot I need an oil change!” Once you get really good at planning you won’t need it as much, but that peace of mind makes budgeting seem easy.
- Trust your budget. Once you get it down don’t hold your payments until the last second, just mail that check!
If we can do it, anyone can do it! You just have to believe in yourself and stick to your plan. Nail that budget down, eat at home as much as possible, be thrifty, and learn to say no to that new TV. You guys got this, together we can all win at this money thing!
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