Budgeting Review – A Plan to Stop Juggling

You have determined your budgetable income, and made a list of your bills, expenses and even discretionary categories, so today is the big day. This blog is going to help you to plug all of that information into a spreadsheet that will change your financial life. It is so simple to use and understand, and yet it is the key to budgeting success.

One of the most difficult things about juggling finances is that you feel like you can never stop. Some people are constantly dropping balls, others just put some of the balls down until they can afford to pay them. The juggling act is constant and exhausting. You never know when the next ball is going to be thrown in or how many there will be. What I am going to be giving you today is so incredibly valuable because it is not just a way to manage the juggling act, it is way to end it.

I am so excited about what I am going to be sharing with you today because it is a very simple, very straightforward “Excel” spreadsheet that you can plug all of your information into and will allow you to determine your budget. Many people fail because they can never grasp the big picture of their finances, and this visual budget is going to help to give you that picture. So if you just want to see what I am talking about, you can view my blank budget here. Or, if you want a copy for yourself that you can actually work with (which I highly recommend), you can download it here.

This budget is going to help you to stop the juggling act. The first step is to click in the top peach box (You can change the colors on your budget later 🙂 ), and to enter in your bi-monthly budgetable income. If you only figured out your budgetable income to a monthly figure, simply divide your monthly budgetable income total by 2. When you have entered in your bi-monthly income, you will notice that it will automatically add the two together to give you your monthly total and also put that total in your Surplus category and Savings. Do not worry about those numbers right now. They will automatically adjust as you enter in your bills and expenses.

The second step is to get your list of bills. This is where knowing the date that every bill is due is going to be extremely important. I want you to begin to plug your bills into the budget according to when they are due. If they are due after the beginning of the month, plug them into the first section entitled (beginning of the month). If they are due on or after the 15th of the month, plug them into the second section. You can change the names of any of the categories that I have put in for an example, although I would recommend leaving the category entitled “savings” found in both sections, because it is linked to the savings tracker in the yellow section of the budget.

Obviously, the categories will need to be changed for your specific situation, but they will give you a general idea. Furthermore, don’t worry if the numbers don’t add up correctly for today (if your bills total more than your income in one of the sections). I am going to be addressing how to balance your budget in detail in an upcoming blog. For today, you have started. You may be able to mess with this budget and figure it out for yourself, which is wonderful. If you need to see an example of a completed budget (all the numbers are made up ~they are not mine, because what I pay for my mortgage isn’t the point 🙂 ) I have posted one here. If it is all a little confusing, don’t worry because by the end of this series, this budget will be so simple and clear. So hang in there with me.

I know some of you may already manage your finances through a program like Quicken, or Microsoft money. I use Quicken, but I also use this budget and I am going to go into why later on this week. So let me just challenge you to trust me and go for it.

This budgeting plan is going to set you free from the juggling act. You will finally have all of your balls in one place and you will know exactly when each ball needs to go out because it is due. You will also be able to see at a glance where your money is going and what your plan is for your money. It is time to get all of the weight, uncertainty, and confusion out of your head and into a plan. It is time to stop tossing your bills up and hoping the money comes in before they land. You can succeed on a budget, but it needs to be clear, it needs to be comprehensive, and it needs to be easily accessible and changeable. If you will walk with me this week, I think you will see that this budgeting plan is all of that and more: it is also your chance to quit juggling, and to finally clear the balls from your head so you can get on with the rest of your life.