Man that was hard!!!
The way we started budgeting was one pay period at a time. A day or two before we got paid I would sit down and figure out what needed to be paid, make a list and send it to Felicia to look at and review. She would tell me what she needed or wanted to buy and we would work it in. It has been working and it has allowed us to catch up on bills that we were behind on, but now it is time to move on to the monthly budget. Dave calls it the "Monthly Cash Flow Plan," I like that better.
I sat down and went through every category and filled in what we needed to pay and what I thought we should budget and tried really hard to make sure our budget reflected our goals. Filled in our amount for monthly savings, rent, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, medical, personal, recreation (not much of that will be going on for awhile), and debt. When I was done I added it all up and plugged in our income and realized, it was still more than we make. Looked at it and started trying to figure out how to bring it down. First thing off the list, Replace Furniture and then repairs and tires. We might be setting ourselves up for an emergency, but we are working on being able to put those categories back in shortly. We have a storage space that we are paying for, but have not used any of that stuff for two years. We are going to have garage sale and whatever does not sale give to charity and start saving that $82.00 a month.
The budget started to look good, but that was the easy part. The next step was the "Allocated-Spending Plan." We had to spend every dollar from every paycheck on paper. The form has 4 columns for every pay period, you fill in the date for the pay period and the dollar amount, then the rows have a budget category and you determine which paycheck that category is coming out of and it also keeps a running countdown to zero to make sure every dollar was spent. This was the hard part. I thought you budget and spend the money, but if you pay one bill too early then you may not have enough to buy groceries for that week. One mistake I made was I added an amount that I was supposed to deduct and threw the whole thing off and it took me an hour to figure out where the mistake was. Hopefully, it will get easier. It took me 3 hours and 2 tries to get it right, I know next time it won't take so long.