How do I start a budget?

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Jeff Rose 2 years, 3 months ago.

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    Jeff Rose
    Key Master

    If you’re like me and hate budgeting, raise your hand.  *hand raises high*

    Yes, I hate budgeting too but I also realize the importance.

    What budgeting tips can you share to those that despise budgeting as much as I do?


    Forest Parks

    Personally I like the approach of minimising on everything to start. You can build up slowly from nothing rather than cutting back from everything!



    Four letters.


    That dang program has made Budgeting FUN, I look forward to entering transactions… I may be crazy, but it actually is one of the first things I open in the morning!



    I’m ashamed to admit this, but I’m absolutely CLUELESS when it comes to budgeting.  I’ve had more than one friend tell me that we just need to go “cash only.”  I’ve never been a “cash only” person.  I would not survive without my debit card.

    Anyone have any words of advice?  Is going “cash only” the only way to budget??



    Definitely not!  Like you, I cannot use cash… I lose track, miss receipts, etc… I use my debit card for EVERYTHING!

    The trick, if it’s a trick, is to make sure you use your *category balances* in your budget to influence spending decisions, NOT your account balance!   With a proper working budget, your account balance is irrelevant, since you’ll always have extra to cover other categories.  I suppose another trick is to only budget with money you actually have…


    Jeff Rose
    Key Master

    I hear great things about YNAB and had a chance to meet the founder Jesse and do an interview with him; he definitely loves budgeting!



    I track our expenses every year and use averages to determine what to budget for and what can be reduced/minimized.  I don’t use a cash system but if you put your cash in an envelope in your purse/wallet, it’d be easy just to stick the receipt into the envelope.



    I would love to learn/know more about YNAB, please!



    I use YNAB as my main budgeting app and it really does make things a lot easier. It runs off of a zero based budgeting model where every dollar coming in and going out is assingned to a category.  You track your money for a month or more and then setup a budget in the software with what you want to be spending – and then do your best to not go over.  if you do go over, you can easily see in their reporting screen and adjust things going forward.

    Highly recommended to use a software like YNAB to keep track of your money. Not only will it give you a better idea of where you money is going, but it can help you to plug the money leaks and do better going forward by telling your money where to go – instead of trying to figure out where it went.

    I did a full review of the software a while back:



    Budgeting is so key and fundamental to your financial success!  You need to find a way that works for you whether an online tool, a simple excel spreadsheet, or even just as simple as a pen and paper!  When working with clients having a budget, tracking your money and giving your money a job is huge on my list :-).


    In BKF University , we teach the following:


    The M.A.F. in getting out of debt:

    Momentum + Accountability + Focus

    Your momentum comes from using your debt snowball to eliminate debt in order from smallest to largest.

    Accountability comes from not only having a solid budget but someone or something holding you ACCOUNTABLE to that budget. For many this is budgeting component found in For others this is a weekly debt support group/class such as the one we teach, or from sharing your journey with others online.

    Focus is what happens when  momentum and accountability clear all of the clutter from your life and allow you to zero in on your goal.



    I LOVE budgeting, for me it is simple and easy.  I HATE tracking receipts.

    To budget without tracking receipts,

    I used the zero based budgeting model to customize my excel budget to my situation. Keep in mind a budget is a forecast and by definition a forecast is alway wrong (good or bad), therefore you must do one every month. You don’t have to start from scratch, you can use last months template and update as you go.
    Use online banking to align bills with payday and execute the budget. For example, if you are paid on the 1st & 15th each month, that is when your bills get paid. Now set up recurring payments and savings transfers. When reviewing your budget on payday, make sure you update payments that have variable amounts (gas, water, electric).
    After that I get my pocket money from the ATM and add money to my gas giftcard and grocery giftcard. No need to keep the receipts, once it is gone it is gone.




    I tried at least 3 attempts in the past to budget by trying to forecast how much I would receive vs. how much in expenses I would have, and no past attempt lasted more than a month, and it was not exciting! But after watching the Google Hangout on budgeting, I started using YNAB, and I must say, I’m actually amazed how easy it has been! I learned about it at the best time too…right before receiving my annual bonus, but this time I didn’t blow all my money then wonder where it went. Thanks Debt Movement!

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