how I budget

I’m working on a pretty small monthly income but I’m trying to save it and spend it in the best ways possible. I recently started practicing some budgeting techniques so I can be more conscious about my spending. For months I would yell at myself about how I needed to stop spending my money and to start saving. This was a great thought but it didn’t really help me manage my money better. Budgeting was always a really daunting task for me too. I don’t make the same amount with every pay check so I thought it would be impossible to work around that. With some time and thinking though I found a system that has been working out for me. I use envelopes to organize everything and hold myself accountable for my spending.

Envelope 1 is called Rent and Utilities: 2019 Overview of Rent and Utility Costs

On the backside I have it divided into 3 columns and 12 rows. The columns are divided up by rent, utilities and total spending. The 12 rows make up each month. At the end of each month I will mark down the price of rent the price of utilities and the total cost for that month. This is to help me get a better overview to how much money is being put into living accommodations and to help track my spending.

Envelope 2 is called Groceries and Going out: This money is for groceries, eating out and going out.

Each week I allow myself $75 to cover all of my groceries, anytime I eat out/get coffee/go out drinking. The back side of the envelope is divided into 4 columns (this will change depending on the month) and 4 rows. The columns make up the weeks of the month. February is short so there are fewer weeks to add in. The rows are divided by groceries, eating out and drinking. Every time I spend money I will make it down in whatever column it fits into. I will then subtract the price of whatever I bought from the $75 I gave myself at the beginning of the week. For example, this week my groceries were $37.96, in the first box under the week I am currently in I will write $37.69-$75.00= $39.04. I now know that I have about $39 for the rest of the week. Any time I spend money on one of these things I will subtract it from my total allowed money for that week. I will also put all of my food and grocery receipts into the envelope so I can track it easier. I change this envelope out each month and put it into a binder where I keep all of my files.

Envelope 3 is titled Gas: This is to track all extra costa. Art supplies, concert tickets, clothing, etc.

The back of this envelope is similar to envelope 2, it has columns for the weeks of the month and rows for whatever I spend most on. My rows say concerts, clothes, beauty, miscellanies and total. This works how you would expect it to. Each time I spend money on one of these things I will mark down the price, add the receipt into the envelope and at the end of the week total the costs up. This envelope also gets changed each month.

Envelope 4 is titled Gas for car: monthly overview on how much I spend on gas

This one is set up similar to envelope 1. I have 5 columns and 12 rows. The columns are labeled 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and total. The rows make up the months of the year. Each time I fill up my car I log the cost, add the receipt to the envelope and then add up the total cost at the end of the month. This envelope will last all year.

The last thing I do to help my finances is something that might be a little much for some people but it has been helping me. At the end of each day I will write in my planner how much I spent that day and subtract it from the total amount of money in my bank account. This helps me actually see how much I’m spending and has made me a lot more conscious on spending money on things I don’t need.