10 Steps to a Better Budget…and Why (Part One)

Don’t read this if you’re not in the mood for a frankness, or if you’re not in the mood to consider cutting the budget! 🙂 (It’s okay, I get in those moods as well! No judgment here!) Jack calls me Dave Ramsey’s long lost love child or something like that, LOL. I was actually reminding myself of some things today about money and thought I’d organize my thoughts in a blog.

1) Have a written monthly budget with every category you could possibly spend, give, or save money in. If you’re new to this, guess how much you’ll need for each category. Ours are: Bills, Escrow (I’ll mention that later), Grocery, Gas, Fun Money, Miscellaneous, Tithes and Offerings, Health.  Your plan is to write exactly how much was spent in each category every month and compare to how much you hoped to spend in each category every month. This isn’t to make you feel bad for spending, because some things just cost what they cost. But it IS to help us know where the money is truly going and perhaps in some categories some changes could be made. As you go, new categories might need to be made and your expectation of how much should be spent in each category might change, but eventually you’ll know the perimeters you need to give and can say, “No, we can’t do that, because our ______ money is gone for the month.”

2) Here’s what the Escrow thing is all about. I thought of all the things that happen for sure in a year’s time and added up the estimated cost of all those things. Stuff like: property taxes, gas bill for our heat, car repairs, home/appliance repairs, Christmas giving (for the four of us and for others), and going to the dentist. Those things ARE going to happen, and there’s nowhere in my monthly budget for the money to come out of, and that’s frustrating! So, I added up the estimated costs of these things for one year and divided it by 12, and that figure is what MUST go into Escrow savings each month. I have a different savings account for Escrow and I transfer that amount at the end of each month. There have been months where I couldn’t, when we just didn’t have enough, so I understand that happens. But this is a KEY to getting ahead and not always feeling like you can’t keep up with life. So when that tax return comes or anything at all, don’t spend it! Start an escrow account for those things that WILL happen this year.

3) Health. A few different things.
*First of all, everybody’s needs are different and you have to do what you have to do. I never thought I would take supplements, because “can’t I get those nutrients from my food?” Well, obviously not. I have adrenal fatigue and my blood work shows how much I need extra and quality doses of things. But there are many supplements and health food type things that I simply cannot afford. I have to give myself a limit and do what is most necessary, honestly for more reasons than just financial ones.
*I love the idea of a gym, but don’t think there aren’t alternatives! A coat and a pair of shoes is all you need to walk and jog and do intervals outside. Or you and your friends can exchange workout dvds. Even if you have to drive to a place with sidewalks, you’d be driving to the gym anyway so that can’t be an excuse.
*Another health issue: Some might have an argument against this, and that’s totally cool, but to get free health insurance for children in Kentucky is very easy. As a four member family, if you make an income of less than $44,000, you can be on Passport.
*Also, I’m NO expert on health insurance but if you’re fairly healthy, there are plans for health insurance that have a really high deductible (which is the most you could possibly have to ever spend of your own money) but a very low premium (what you pay monthly.) That way, you can save your money for your health needs instead of giving it to those companies, but have the benefit of the “adjustments” you get for your healthcare provider having a relationship with the company.
*Lastly about health I will just say it should be a serious goal to get off any prescriptions possible. There may be a natural source to meet your need and it is likely that it will be cheaper and better for your body. Many of these supplements that can take the place of prescriptions can be purchased as a 6 month or year supply, making them up to %40 off at certain sites. Consider going to a natural medicine minded nurse practitioner…much more cost effective and they can manage your supplement needs.

This is already too long, so I’ll do a Part Two in the coming days! If anyone wants to comment and ask a specific question, feel free, and I’ll answer it in the next blog. 🙂

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