As I look at my tax documents, I see by the numbers that I made plenty of money last year...so why does it feel like I run out of money each pay period? Now looking around my house, I see where all that money went. I've grown a bad habit of shopping when I'm bored. Sure, I shop at stores with great deals (ie. Ross!) but so often I buy items that I really don't need! Which is why I always have plenty of stuff to have a successful yard sale EVERY year!
Well, it's confession time...here is how I've been budgeting my money for the past two years:
1. Get paid every other Friday
2. Pay bills due within 2 weeks on Saturday
3. Shop as long as there is money in the checking account
4. Stop shopping when the money is gone
5. On the Thursday before the next payday, deposit any leftover money into savings account
As you probably guessed...that didn't work! I never have any leftover money to save! I think, all that time, I thought what I was doing was OK, because I always made sure my bills were paid first. I can't blame my stupidness on ignorance...my dad helped me set up a budget when I first moved out on my own...it just didn't stick...sorry dad!
It's not too late, I can do better! I have already cut out all unnecessary shopping (seriously, I didn't even go to Joann's even though snuggle flannel is 60% off right now!) and I am going on a strict budget starting April 1st.
I tried out a few of the sample budgets spreadsheets offered on Excel, but the issue with each one was that they are based for people who have a set paycheck, and/or are paid on the same date each month. I am paid hourly, never have the same amount of hours each week, and get my paycheck every other Friday, regardless of the date. The biggest issue I deal with is figuring out which bills to pay in a pay period, and which are not due until after the next payday. I finally found a sample budget called the "Bi-Weekly Budget Planner" and used it as a template to personalize it to my own needs. I moved alot of stuff around, took out some unnesessary stats, and most importantly, I added a list at the bottom for each of my bills and the usual due date to quickly determine which pay period to sort the bills into. At the end of April, I will evaluate how it is working and adjust it accordingly.
If you too are looking for a Bi-Weekly Budget Sample for a variable salary. Download mine here.
It is all ready set up to add, subtract, and transfer totals where needed. You just need to figure up your estimated bills and enter those in. One thing you may notice, mine is missing some usual bills. Jake and I have separate bank accounts and split our bills according to how much we make, so some bills (like mortgage and auto insurance) are not in my budget.
I'm starting my new budget on April 1st. I hope this helps someone out there! If you have any questions, let me know!