Kick the Monthly Budget OutWe like to know where each dollar went. Every single one. Unaccounted for dollars add up to expenses you weren’t tracking. This could be keeping you in the red every month and even the smallest amount of saving is a good amount, it all counts.
Let’s think about it in terms of how we tend to look at our own schedules. Usually, people look at their week rather than trying to remember everything they need to do in the month, doesn’t that logic apply to how we look at spending our money?
For example, if you have $250 a month for food, that will fly out the window in the first two weeks but if you know you only have $62 a week for food, you are more likely to make it to the end of the month, tracking it each week within that smaller amount of expendable cash.
Going WeeklyFirst off, weekly budgets are easier to review since your purchases will be fresher in your mind as well as only having a weeks’ worth of items to review. You’ll know exactly where every dime went and plan for the larger upcoming expenses like bills and rent.
At the end of the week, you’ll tally how you did within the budget you set for yourself for those 7 days. Maybe you went into the red a little, so you know that the next week you will need to be very frugal and skip the date night you had planned.
The weekly budget gives you the power to review every single item that goes in and out of your accounts, this way you’ll be able to plan for the weeks when bills or rent is coming out.
- BE A BUDGET BOSS
First thing you will need to do is chop up your monthly budget into weeks. If you already know how much you can spend on groceries for the month, divide that by the number of weeks in that month and do that for all planned expenses.
From here, it’s a matter of accountability and tracking. You’ll need to choose a day of the week that fits your life and make room in that day every single week to review your spending
- NARROW IT DOWN
You don’t need a budget for each thing in your life, for example, a food budget, pharmacy budget, shopping budget…etc. You only need two or three categories to keep yourself on track.
You can have just a shopping budget and a living budget wherein living is rent, utilities, food, gas, transportation and things needed for you to be a functioning human. Shopping could be makeup, vitamins, clothes, and going out with friends.
Keeping it simple will help to keep you from getting overwhelmed. This way it’s easier to track, and easier to look at week by week.
- BREATHING ROOM
Give yourself money categorized as extra, wiggle, or cushion, whatever you need to call it to ensure that you have something on the side each week for unexpected spending. Your fur baby may need a trip to the vet, your best friend is getting married, or maybe you had a spontaneous adventure with friends, whatever it was having the cushion of non-planned money will give you freedom.
During the weeks you don’t spend your cushion, you get to save!
- TRACK IT
No, really. Every dime needs to be accounted for on this plan and with a week by week budget, it should be easier.
You may be a journal keeper, pen and paper is a great way to keep yourself accountable, there is something about it that relaxes us and helps us focus. However, with the ease and accessibility offered by our phones, it may just be easier for you to track on your phone. mint.com is reliable and safe in terms of tracking and is very user friendly. Whichever app you use, check on it, keep it updated, and learn to love it.
Finding the system that works for you might take a few weeks but once you go with the weekly method and start seeing some savings, you’ll never look back.