My husband and I have been vagrants for our whole marriage (all one year of it) and even for a while before that. We have lived in about 7 different homes/apartments each lasting about 1 week to 3 months. We have had random odd jobs, part-time jobs, internships, no jobs, living off of savings.
So as you can tell, not a very stable situation. (But we have had lots of fun doing it!)
Recently, we moved back to my hometown. Found full-time jobs – with benefits and everything. And just paid our first month rent towards a one-year lease for apartment that we love. Wow. Talk about a little bit of stability.
With that stability comes that first actually budget that we have sat down to make and to stick to. A little bit nerve racking. We have had to look online at budget tools and hints. Had to really dig through to find all of our expenses. Had to look at our priorities. Pretty hard stuff.
Of course we also had a great resource right in front of us. (HINT: this blog!)
- Tips on Saving Money
- Building an Emergency Fund
- Making a No-Shopping Pact
- How Sewing Can Help Your Budget
- Living Beyond Your Means?
Here are some of our own tips that we suggest when making a budget:
- Make a list of all of your Income & Expenses
In doing so you can really see where your money is coming from and where it is going. My husband set up an Excel document and used functions to figure out the totals. It is really handy to use. Remember expenses like:
- internet, cell phones, utilities
- benefits from your job
- Set Priorities
This was pretty easy for us. We know that we have some student loans that need to be paid off. We totaled the month cost and put that at the very top of our list of expenses. Next on the list was rent. Luckily we found a place to live where all utilities (expect phone, internet, cable) are included. Since we have cell phones and are declining cable, this leaves internet. Internet was another priority for us. Since my blogging hobby is growing, and he is learning about all the Adobe photo/video tutorials, we want internet.
This was one of our priorities. I feel that savings is one of the most important things you can do. Save for emergencies. Save for travel. Save for education. Save for a house. Save for a baby. Without savings, stress usually follows. And since we have been living off our savings for almost a year, Yes, savings is important. And we need to build it back up again. We have budgeted at least 10% towards savings.
4. Leave some wiggle room.
While budgeting & priority setting are both totally awesome, stressing out is not OK. We are learning this through experience. Especially my husband. We try not to be slaves to money; it is easy to make money an idol. Always needing the nicest cars, electronics, house. That is not a good mindset. But the other extreme is just as bad. Stressing out about sticking to your budget is another way to become a slave to money. Sometimes it’s just time to do a little budgeting for dummies! By allowing your self some error & flexibility with spending, you can overcome the idolatry that is money and live more simply.