Creating Your First Budget

Creating and sticking to a budget can be incredibly overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Most of us are not 100% sure where our money goes every month and this is a problem if you have big financial goals. So to make budgeting a little less scary, I’ve broken down some simple steps that will help you get a handle on your personal finances and start

Get Real, Real Quick

You need to fully be aware of your financial situation if you’re going to budget effectively. That means really taking a look at where your money is going each month and what your current debts are. Sit down and do a complete audit of your monthly spending. That means actually looking at your bank account statements. Add up everything you spent money on and where it was going. Using different categories to figure out what could possibly be changed will be super helpful. Below is a list to help get you started:

  • Eating Out
  • Groceries
  • Utilities
  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Subscriptions (Spotify, Hulu, Netflix, Audible, etc.)
  • Gas/Transportation
  • Shopping
  • Daycare
  • Misc. Expenses
  • Savings

Decide on a Plan

Once you’ve taken the time to figure out where your money is going, then it’s time to decide where you want it to go moving forward. I recommend figuring out if your primary goal is debt payoff or saving. If you have large debts accruing lots of interest, you may want to focus on debt payoff (I’ll share more about this later this month). If you are debt free or your debts are minimal, then a savings focus budget is in order. The important thing is to be honest with yourself about where you need to focus your energy. Remember this is not a punishment and budgeting is helping you towards your financial goals.

Get Creative

I’m a pen and paper person which means I have a designated notebook that has our monthly and weekly budgets. If you’re an Excel guru, then create an electronic budget template. There are tons of apps and resources online but trust me when I say, keep it simple. You don’t want to dread your monthly budgeting task so if purchasing a cute notebook to keep track of your monthly spending motivates you, then do that! Do what feels reasonable and effective for your current lifestyle.

Be Realistic

When creating your monthly budget, you need to be realistic about the amounts you set for each category. If you commute an hour to work every day of the week, a $150 monthly budget for gas is not going to cut it. Likewise, you don’t want to associate guilt with things that fall outside of the “responsible” budget items. If coffee out with a friend 3 times a month is something you value, then build that into your budget. If your finances are in dire need for intervention that’s one thing, but if you’re just getting your feet wet with budgeting and still want to live your life, acknowledge and document your fun money spending and assess whether you can afford the extras or if you need to cut back.

Make the Commitment

Creating a budget is the easy part. The hard part is actually sticking to your guns when it comes to excess spending. Sale prices, discounts and “save now” benefits are not actually saving you money if you’re buying things you don’t actually need. Focus on what you budgeted for and know that if you are purchasing outside that plan, then you will need to cut spending elsewhere. This will help keep you on track.

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New Month, Fresh Start

It’s a brand new month and even though the temps are still chilly in MN, April means its officially spring and warmer temps are on the way. After a long, Minnesota winter there is nothing I crave more than opening up all the windows and tackling our spring cleaning checklist. But dusting out the cobwebs and shaking out the rugs aren’t the only things on my list.. April is a great time to clean out your pantry cupboard, your closet (your child’s closet) and even your makeup bag.

Cleaning Product Roundup

It’s probably been a hot minute since you’ve inventoried your cleaning supplies under the kitchen or bathroom sink.. Out with the old, in with the new! I will be sharing what cleaning products I use for all of my spring cleaning and where you can find them. But let’s be honest, Target. It’s always Target..

Pantry Re-stock

Time to simplify dinner time by cleaning up your pantry. I will walk you through what you should probably toss, what you should donate to your local food shelf and what you should realistically keep on hand to keep your cupboards clean and make meal time a breeze.

Makeup Bag Clear-out

It’s that time of year to start thinking about BB creams and waterproof mascara! I will be sharing some of my favorite brands and clean beauty products for summer.

De-cluttering with a toddler

Guys, this is a tough one but I promise it’s easier than you think. I’m going to walk you through how we organize our sons toys, how we get him to join in on cleanup time and what to do about the clutter.

It’s going to be an awesome month, you guys! And if you’re feeling inspired to get started early on your spring re-fresh, keep an eye on Emily’s Instagram for some fresh paint inspiration! She’s redecorating her bedroom and it’s going to be a springtime DREAM! @emilygomezwellness

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