Basic Guide to Budgeting and Personal Finance

Are you clueless when it comes to Budgeting and Personal Finance?

Do you want to learn about Budgeting and Personal Finance but don’t even know where to start?

Are you just starting out and want to start Budgeting and Saving properly the first time around?

I wish I had someone to teach me basics of budgeting and saving when I was just starting to work. I would have saved myself so much heartache. This is not a blog about getting out debt (thank goodness!) or about Pursuing Financial Independence or Early Retirement (FIRE). There Basic Guide to Budgeting and Personal Financeare plenty of great people talking about those.

 

This is a blog about the  basics of personal finance and my own journey towards financial security. I am a “millennial mom” who is doing her best to give my family financial security all while living on a low income. No high-earner here!

 

How do you start getting your financial life in order?

It's actually very easy. There are no secrets or get-rich tips. It comes down to proper budgeting and saving properly. Click To Tweet

If you read the following posts (I suggest in order but you can do whatever you want!) it will give you the basic foundation to start getting your financial life in order. Its simple and straightforward.

Budgeting with the Modern Envelope System– a basic budget with a modern twist.

Budgeting on an Uneven Paycheck– What if you don’t get a set paycheck every month? This posts helps you set up a budget to fit your uneven paycheck.

Setting up Your Savings Ladder- Where do you put your savings? How do you know what to save for? The Savings Ladder will tell you exactly where and how much to save.

Emergency Fund: A Primer- The emergency fund is part of your savings ladder. Why is it so important? Why do you need it?

Why I put $5 a Month into a Retirement Account- Creating good financial habits is the key to successfully getting your financial life under control.

3 Tips to Boost your Savings-Looking for tips to boost your savings? Here are 3. No shortcuts though! Just good, old-fashioned savings.

 

Happy Reading and Good Luck!

HOT! Target.com Summer Clothes

Hot! Target.com Summer Clothes on Sale

Affiliate Link Disclosure: These links are affiliate links which means I get paid each time you used one of these links.

 

I just bought my kids 10 shirts for $35.58 total (including tax and shipping) which comes out to $3.58 per shirt. There have been reports of getting that total to $34.58 on certain orders as well.

    1. Go to Ebates.com and navigate from there to Target. Ebates is offering 1% cash back on Target orders. If you don’t have a Ebates account, please use my link to sign up. You will get a $10 sign up bonus for doing so. I don’t count cash back in my total when sopping for clothes because you get the money back so much after actually placing the purchase. I prefer to leave it out of my calculations and then counting my Ebates check as “extra money” which goes either to pay down debt or towards savings. (every little bit counts).
    2. I put 5 of the $4.50 t-shirts (in 2 sizes) in my cart. This is one example. (Isn’t it adorable?)
    3. When I checkout it applies the $10 off $40 promo that they are offering right now.
    4. I am using my RedCard Debit Card to pay for it. (If you don’t have a Redcard, use this link to apply for either a Credit or Debit card- you get 5% off every order and free shipping). That takes a further 5% off my order which brings my total to $35.58 including tax.
    5. Someone told me that when they checked out there was an option to save $1 by allowing your package to ship more slowly and in fewer packages. I do not know what triggers this option.

 

 

Check out and wait for your packages!

I try not to spend more than $4 on a t-shirt per child so this fits into my budget. Summer clothes shopping started with a great deal!

marriage

How Budgeting Saved My Marriage

How Budgeting Saved My Marriage

When I got pregnant with my first child we knew we had to save money. We had been bopping around before then, putting money on credit cards and paying it off, taking some money and putting it into savings, taking it out again. Not doing anything really stupid but not really being on top of the situation. We had put some money we got from our wedding in savings and we hadn’t really done any savings since then. We WANTED to save money but there never really seemed to be any money at the end of the month to put away.

When we realized we needed to save more money for the baby, we hit a snag. I am naturally frugal and have an easier time just NOT spending money. My husband is not a big spender, but he occasionally buys a coffee, a danish, a pricey ingredient at the store. While I was busy trying NOT to spend money, he was still spending money on things that I, personally, deemed frivolous. He would come home and the critic in me would start: “Are you sure you needed to buy a sandwich? You could have remembered to pack one at home”, “Another coffee? Really?”. And as you can imagine he didn’t respond to that really well. As we continued to bicker, I became more controlling and he became more defensive- “You’re not my mother” became a common refrain. When he came home with flowers for me in an effort to appease, it just escalated the situation! “I don’t want flowers! I want to save money!”. It was not exactly the harmonious, loving home that we both wanted to have. We had become something that we both didn’t want to be: A COUPLE THAT FIGHTS ABOUT MONEY.

We were heading down a dark road and it had to stop. All our interactions were becoming about money and the “SAVINGS” was a big, black cloud that hung over our marriage. We didn’t know how to get there and we were fighting as we tried to figure it out.

So we decided to do something we had never done before: We made a budget. (Cue the music).

And it worked. We stopped fighting. By creating a budget we were able to take the emotions out of the money which left us with nothing to fight about. Click To Tweet

We had a specific amount of money for household expenses, and a specific amount of money for each of us to spend. We each decided for ourselves how to spend that money.

Why did this work? Because it was really never about the money. It rarely is. It was about the emotions that money evokes. You see, I grew up in a poor family. Not dirt poor- but a “live on a strict budget don’t get dental work until its urgent” type of family. When my father lost his job, things were really, really tight and stressful. So I was determined that I would have savings and money in the bank to try to avoid those tense times. It made me feel secure to know that there was a $50 bill in my purse that wasn’t being spent. Just in case. It was important for me to have money in the bank.

My husband, on the other hand, grew up with a financially controlling parent. Every purchase was scrutinized, discussed and analyzed. While they were pretty comfortable financially he never felt the freedom to purchase anything on his own. Even when he spent his own money, he would be questioned and guilted about his purchases. When he became independent, he needed to be able to spend his own money without feeling controlled or analyzed. He didn’t mind having a set amount to spend-he minded being told HOW or WHEN to spend it. He wanted to be able to decide for HIMSELF when to buy a cup of coffee or not.

Budgeting gave us both what we wanted. We put aside money for savings right when we got paid (instead of putting aside what was leftover) which gave me the feeling of security and purpose that I craved and that allowed me to stop feeling panicked about the money he spent. On his end, he was able to decide what to spend on which item without feeling guilty or uncertain about his choices. It was freedom within a framework- which is what he wanted.

The budget we created was made by both of us. We both agreed to the amounts and the system. We have lived on this same budgeting system for years now, with a few minor adjustments. We honestly rarely talk about money. When we do, it is to discuss changes to the budget or big purchases-its all done calmly and respectfully (and rarely). We already know what we each need and what our overall financial goals are so we only rarely have to discuss the “nuts and bolts”. There really is nothing to fight about and money does not make its way into every discussion like it used to.

Some Tips about Creating a Budget with your Spouse or Significant Other:

  1. Be calm and respectful. Realize that it is rarely about the money. It is about the emotion that money evokes.
  2. Respect the other person’s needs and wants.
  3. Write it down and agree to reevaluate.
  4. Choose a quite, peaceful time to assess how the budget is working.
  5. Give your partner space. Trust them to follow the budget and stick to the plan.
  6. Support the other if they mess up. The relationship is more important than the money.

 

What budget did we use? This one right here!