By Shannan Painter on | No Comments
We have an incredibly useful and totally FREE printable budget worksheet that you can download below. But before we get to that, let's talk a little bit about budgeting.
Budgeting has become somewhat of a lost art in our society. Over time, the word “budget” has developed a negative connotation – as in, if you’re on a budget - it is associated with deprivation. Most people see making lots of money as a license to spend freely and making little money as having to watch what we spend more carefully. But what if I told you that EVERYONE should budget?
I have to confess, even with a background in Accounting and Finance, I have often resisted budgeting for my own household because it seemed like a lot of work! In all actuality, budgeting is very simple, AND it can bring MORE freedom and LESS STRESS to your spending habits. Whether your household brings in $500,000 or $25,000, budgeting can be the tool that helps you acquire and increase wealth for your family. (Or maybe, as a starter, just help you sleep better at night!)
If you are a salaried employee, you already know your monthly income, so this process will be a bit easier. If you are self-employed, the budgeting process presents a unique challenge because a self-employed person’s income can vary significantly from month to month and/or season to season.
If you aren’t already using some sort of financial tracking software for your business, you need to start NOW! Spreadsheets or other software allow you to see trends and make decisions based on history.
Once you know (for salaried employees) or have an estimate of your monthly income, there are several tools available that you can use to allocate funds to different categories. I really like using Dave Ramsey's guideline percentages.
Here are his recommendations:
(You can download a free printable budget worksheet from Pretty Presets below to help you fill these items in!)
Once you get started, keep these few tips in mind (also from Dave Ramsey):
Give your budget three to four months to start working. It won't be perfect the first time you do it.
Spend every dime on paper before the month begins.
Over-fund your groceries category. Most people underfund this category.
Husbands (if applicable) need to loosen up and quit using the budget as a whipping tool on their wives.
If married, spouses need to work on their budget together. The preacher said, "... and you are ONE."
In the same way that eating healthy helps you say “no” to things that aren’t good for your body, with the freedom to enjoy a treat occasionally, budgeting will allow you to say “no” to the things that aren’t FINANCIALLY healthy. It will also save you from “buyer’s remorse”; when you’ve budgeted for an item, you will be able to buy it and enjoy it WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY!
Dave says: "Budgeting is 20% belief and 80% behavior," so make time in your schedule (RIGHT NOW) to sit down and give this a shot! We’d also love to hear how budgeting has brought some freedom to your finances!
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Shannan is a newbie photographer who has spent the last 5 years working with the left side of her brain helping small businesses organize their accounting and taxes. She decided to take the big step and pursue her dream of becoming a professional photographer in 2013 after adding a third boy to her house that was already full of super heroes, trucks, and sports equipment. She and her husband, who is a local TV meteorologist, play pick-up games of basketball in their free time and like to take road trips to Lake Minnetonka with all 3 boys, and their dog Growler.