Creating a budget was one of the more difficult tasks for us in our marriage. We went through years of number crunching, trying budget app after budget app, in addition to trying to follow the limits we set for ourselves in limiting our frivolous spending. Every time I thought we hit the money (Oh look, a pun!) in finding a budget I can work with, either income or bills would fluctuate, which made any electronic budget inaccurate and unhappy.
What I learned early on is our family does a lot better with a paper budget than an electronic one. Having a tangible form of tracking expenses for whatever reason made it all the more easy to keep up with and change if need be. If we spend more in one category and less in another I could easily write down a transfer to balance it out, as opposed to having to change amounts and numbers in an app. It was also available for any one of us to update if needed without having to remember usernames and passwords.
I created a very basic template that anyone could recreate or use to fit their families’ needs. Depending on what categories you prefer will determine how many columns you’d need.
Start with adding up your total monthly income.
Include everything. If you want to average it if it changes regularly, that’s fine too.
Add up Primary Expenditures.
These are your bills each month. Anything with a due date and needs to be paid every month would be a Primary Expenditure. Examples would be Rent, Car Insurance, Utilities, Loan Payments, Phone and TV services, etc. Include all their due dates.
Take that total number and divide it in half, and as much as you can, try to get as close to that number as possible in dividing what bills can be paid at the beginning of the month, and what bills can be paid towards the end of the month. That way paying bills isn’t light one half of the month, and overwhelming during the other half.
Subtract your Primary Expenditure amount from your Total Monthly Income. Use what’s left to work out your Secondary Expenditures.
These are your necessities, such as groceries, gas, and toiletries. These amounts will very depending on your family and your needs.
If you have any funds left, these would be your Miscellaneous Expenditures.
These would be things like entertainment, dining out, shopping money, etc. Tithing can be included in Misc. or Secondary Expenditures depending on how much you have at the end.
What we did was take a sheet of paper and write down each type of expenditure in all three categories from left to right:
This gave us the ability to make notes and adjust funds in different columns as need be. Here’s an example of how we typically use it each month:
If you’re also working towards trying to become a stay-at-home wife and currently work, I’d encourage you to only include your husband’s income in your draft budget. Take a look at what you can save on here and there and what expenditures you can adjust. Sometimes seeing it on paper is helpful!
“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”