There is a show I enjoy watching, Til Debt Do Us Part. Gail Vaz Oxlade is the financial expert who swoops in to teach knucklehead couples what they are doing wrong with their money. She is smart, to the point and no nonsense. Her slogan is “Money isn’t rocket science”. It isn’t. Money is easy. It is merely an object. You either spend more than you make and have debt or make more than you spend and are saving.
The tricky thing about money is deciding how you want to use it to live the life you want (see manifestation board for more on this first step). After she makes a budget for/with the couples, she always cuts up the credit cards and brings out glass jars and cash for each budget category. Seeing the cash in each category seems to make the money real and rare is the couple who doesn’t have money left over in the jars at the end of each month.
So I made a new budget. This time around I made two bid changes. First, the budget isn’t off of one income (we still have two toddlers in childcare and a newly remodeled home) but tighter than it has been the last three years. Second, I am using Gail’s jars and cash system. Something about seeing the cash really motivates me to save!
Life Imagined Budget in 4 easy steps:
- Create a Manifestation Board
- Get real about your financial picture (I provided a fillable budget form below):
- Print the last two months of bank statements.
- Write down all debt balances, minimum payments and interest rates
- Average the last two months of spending into the categories.
- Create a plan for the future
- Determine how much in variable spending you want in each category
- Set some short (1 month to a year) and long term goals (big picture- like retirement)
- Revisit the categories above to ensure the allocation is supporting your dreams/goals
- Get started
- Print the name of a category on each glass jar
- Withdraw cash for the jars (I find it best to budget weekly)
- Fill each jar with the cash assigned
- When the money is gone, the spending is done until the next week
- Any amount leftover, determine how to distribute:
a) Keep in the jar for the next week
b) Move to a debt repayment, or savings goal
The fillable budget below can be customized. I have prefilled some values as examples.
Let me know how the budget spreadsheet works for you! Any additional ideas?