Budgeting Tips

posted 3 years ago in Money
Post # 3
11607 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999


I swear by it.

Post # 4
1248 posts
Bumble bee

@abbie017:  so i’m checking out mint.com. You’ve never had any security issues with it? I’m a little hesitant with putting in all of my banking info..

Post # 5
896 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

@theEguarantee:  We use it too and have never had a problem.  It also helps you set a goal and tells you how much you need to save/month to reach that goal.

Post # 6
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Another vote for Mint.  No security issues for me.

Post # 8
135 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I’ve heard different percentages on how you should divide your income, but this is the one that I like the best, and you can tweak it, of course, for your needs or goals.

  • 60% to committed expenses (basic living expenses, clothes, insurance, regular bills, minimum payments on debt, etc.
  • 10% to retirement
  • 10% to short term savings/irregular expenses (vacation, major repair bills, new appliances, etc.)
  • 10% to long term savings/debt (car purchases, paying down debt, home renovations, etc.)
  • 10% for fun money (eating out, hobbies, indulgences, etc.)

I don’t follow this to the letter, but I do have my budget set up similarly.  Planning out our menus for the week and prepping snacks and lunches in advance also helps us make healthier decisions and not eat out so much, cutting down on food expenses.  After we are married, we will also be living on Mr. S’s income only while mine goes straight to savings so we can build up a good nest egg.

ETA: I did use Mint for a while when I first started a stricter budget, but I’m pretty good with finances already (I work in the field) and I hated getting so many emails from them, it drove me crazy!

Also, I teach financial classes and always tell them to write down every purchase for a month.  Categorize it.  Often you have smaller purchase habits that add up and you may not realize it.  That weekly magazine, Starbucks habit, eating lunch out, etc.  You can be surprised at the things that can stick out to you when you have it all down in writing.  So if you are trying to find ways to stretch your money further, this may be a good thing to do to cull out where you can pull extra money from.

Post # 9
3202 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I also use Mint!

There are a couple of ways to initially set up your budget. You can do percentages as 

@Sawyer13 mentioned above.

One thing we did was just track our income for a few months and then decide in what areas we felt we could cut to save more money.

Another thing I’ve done in the past is take my total income, subtract all absolute necessities, things I can’t NOT do, and then divide what’s left exactly in half for savings and for “fun money” to spend however I wanted.

Post # 10
1867 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@Sawyer13:  I second the writing down every single expense – that’s what we do and it helps us a) keep track of how much money we have left to spend in the month and b) what we are spending our money on. We basically only spend our money (after bills) on groceries and gas, but there are always extras, and it’s useful to help cut out those non-essentials when you can see them written down.

Post # 11
851 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013 - The front lawn of our church

I have an excel spreadsheet where I record absolutely every penny I spend. It helps me see what areas I’m spending more on than I realize, and it helps me see what areas I can cut dowwn on. If you’re not in the habit of doing this and you start, I guarantee that the first few months you’ll be saying, “OMG I can’t believe I actually spend that much money on _____!”

My spreadsheet helps me see what areas I should cut back in, in order to free up more money for other expenses. I have cut my food budget in half just because I realized that we were eating out WAY more than we should have been. Now I’m able to save that money for when we need a new car. 

Side note, I think it’s wise to save up for things, rather than going in debt for them. For instance, I think most car payments are in the $200/month range, so I try to save $200 a month so that when the time comes to get a new car, I won’t have to go into debt for it. It’s wise to open several savings accounts. One for vacation, one for a car, one for emergency expenses, etc. If you have kids, open an account just for their college fund. If you’re money is already designated, then you won’t end up spending all your savings on vacation, and then realize you have nothing left in savings for anything else. 

Hope some of these tips helped! I’d be happy to send you my excel spreadsheet so you can see how it’s set up if you want. I have it set so that I can put in the amount budgeted for something, and when I enter an expense in that category, it automatically calculates how much I have left for that month. 

Post # 12
6073 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I have seen Sawyer13‘s method online before, the 60/10/10/10 method.


What we do is track all of our expenses each month and put them into categories.  There are some categories that are fixed (like household, but still will fluctuate with heat/AC usage), then other categories that we have a lot of control over, like food/alcohol/eating out.


I basically keep track of everything in Excel, then I compare months (the last tab is for each month’s tallies.  I graph categories like food/alcohol/eating out (they are each separate in my Excel spreadhseet), then I add a trendline.  I can see if we are spending more over time (which is the case right now!), holding steady or slowly declining.  I guess I do long term budgeting, rather than XX goes to this item for this month and that’s it.  I would not like the envelope method at all where you put X cash in an envelope and mark it as food.  When it’s gone, it’s gone.  NMS, plus I don’t feel that is necessary.

Post # 13
1549 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

The key to budgetting is to TRACK your spending… and adjust the budget every month. It will change, things will come up, it happens so you need to be ready.Just add it to the budget if something comes up in the middle of the month.

Mint.com is awesome. I use that alongside an excel budget with a budgetted and spent column for each category so i can go in once a week check mint to see how much groceries we got so far and then add it in the spent column so i know how much i have left.

Make the budget balance out to zero – you give yourself spending money and all that so you budget for every expense… have 500 left over at the bottom is a BAD thing… why? because you don’t know where that money is going. put it toward debt, put it in savings, whatever but tell that money where to go. and NEVER spend more then you make.

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