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How to budget + answers to money questions

Thanks to Dave Ramsey’s ELP program for sponsoring this post!

The first month after we paid off our mortgage, Andy and I each got to choose a splurge. It was also my 30th birthday, so I asked for a splurgey turquoise leather handbag that I love so much we affectionately dubbed it “The Precious.” (As in: “Where is ‘The Precious?'” and “Can you hold ‘The Precious’ for me for a sec?”)
Turquoise Michael Kors Hamilton Handbag
I was never really “a fancy bag person” but I saw that one in the store and I think I audibly gasped and petted its soft leather adoringly. I don’t believe things can give you happiness, but if they could? That bag would do it.

You know what Andy’s splurge was?

Socks. A lot of socks.

He threw away or donated all of his mismatched, holey, stretched-out socks and bought a new set of socks that were all the same brand and style so the sock-matching process is quick and easy.

Total cost: $20.

Twenty dollars for matching socks. That’s all it took for him to feel spoiled. Maybe that gives you an idea how tight our budget was for a while!

Ever since I wrote the post about how we paid off our mortgage, I’ve gotten lots of questions about the nitty-gritty of budgeting. How much did we spend for each category? How did we survive on so much less? So I thought I’d answer the questions I get most often in this little follow-up. If you have others I haven’t addressed, holla!

How did you make a budget?
This is what it looked like for us:

  1. Set your goals.
    Andy and I agreed that our goal was to pay off our house in five years. (We missed it by a little bit, but that’s okay!) The real spirit behind that goal was getting freedom: in our job choice, in our ability to spend our money freely and give freely. So every other purchase was weighed against that goal. Do we want to eat out tonight more than we want that freedom? Do we want a new car more than we want freedom? Once we had a common goal, it made the other decisions easier. We knew what was important, and what wasn’t.
  2. Put it all on paper.
    Lay out your monthly income, and all your required expenses. (Mortgage, utilities, etc.) Now any money that remains after you’ve allocated your required expenses gets spread out in your other categories. Make a category that covers every possible expense! Our categories looked like this:

    • Mortgage (required payment)
    • Mortgage (budgeted extra payment)
    • Tithe (more on this in a sec)
    • Power/gas bill
    • Gasoline for the car
    • Cell phone
    • Internet
    • Groceries
    • Entertainment/eating out
    • Clothes
    • Our personal spending money
    • Miscellaneous

    Then we allocated each dollar we made to one of those categories. Every single dollar got a name and a purpose. Since we’d already defined our goals, we knew what was not important to us and we allocated less money to those categories.

    You can see that we set aside extra money for our mortgage before we did anything else. We basically paid ourselves first, and used what was left after that for the other categories.

    Our grocery budget each month was $300. (And we couponed like crazy to make that last!) We had $25 each to spend on whatever we wanted. Our clothing budget was $50, and we had $70 for date nights and any entertainment. We really learned how to stretch every single dollar! We found ways to go out to eat for about $15, and went to the dollar movie theater or came up with creative date nights to make the $70 budget last all month.

  3. (This post shares a bunch of ways we cut costs in each category.)easy_ways_to_save_money_sm

3. Set up methods to stick to the budget!
We used “the envelope system” but without actual envelopes. We took out cash at the beginning of the month to cover all those categories, and bundled the cash with a paper clip and a post-it note that said “groceries” or “entertainment,” and once we were out of cash in a given category, we were done spending on that category until we got paid again.


This is the key to making a budget: you have agree on it with your spouse, and you have to realize that you won’t get it right the first time. It took us about 3 months of trial and error to settle on the right amounts for each category. The first month, we over-budgeted for food, and forgot to create a “miscellaneous” category for things like stamps or gifts. But we kept with it and corrected as we went, and eventually we got the categories and the amounts right.

4. Find what motivates you
My geeky little husband made an elaborate spreadsheet that showed our mortgage amount month-to-month, and you could play with it by seeing how quickly you paid it off if you added an extra $100 to the payment each month, or an extra $200 once… it was totally motivating!

Source: free printable!

Maybe you need to stick a paper thermometer to your fridge like the old telethons used to see how far you’ve gone, or some other visual way to track your progress. Figure out what that is, and do whatever it takes to keep your motivation and energy up!

You will fall, you will make mistakes. But if you keep getting back up, you’ll be spending $20 to replace all your socks before you know it. (ha!)

Did you put any towards retirement/kids college while paying off the house?
Yes. We always put 15 percent of our income into retirement. That came off the top of our income before we ever got our paychecks, so we didn’t really “feel” it. We put a little bit aside for the kids’ college, but not much. We’re working really hard on saving for that right now.

Did you still get each other birthday and Christmas gifts or was it more like…happy birthday, here’s your new couch, rug, amazing entry table, etc?
Yes, a little bit, but both of us are more into the idea of doing things together than getting gifts. When it came to Christmas, we each had a small budget to spend on the other one, and it was a challenge to see who could stretch their budget the furthest. If I had $100 to spend on him, I would go to ebay and spend it all on a gift card for somewhere like sears or home depot and get a gift card to those stores for ~$115, then combine that with a coupon and a really good sale to buy him a tool or electronics item that originally cost around $175. (That’s how I bought him his $200 router with a $100 budget.) (Here’s my post on how to save money on all your online purchases.)

Did you take family vacations you had to pay for?
Yes! Not expensive, luxurious vacations, but when we’re spending “fun money,” we’d much rather spend it on vacations and memory-making than buying more stuff, so that’s how we prioritized our spending. One year we watched cruise prices for six months in advance and got a four-night cruise for about $300 total. Other times we’d save up my hotel points from work and drive to Savannah, Georgia, or go visit friends in another state. (Click here for more on how we saved money on vacations.)

Did you go out to eat, ever?
Yep! We just found ways to do it inexpensively and creatively. We’d split an entree at a restaurant (and still always feel full!) and drink water when we were out.

If you ended up with an extra $15 (or any dollar amount) at the end of the month did you automatically agree to throw it at the mortgage or did you pick and choose when?
Every dollar was attached to a category, so if there was extra money, we knew we’d underspent on groceries or entertainment, so we rewarded ourselves by just spending it! If we had some entertainment money left over at the end of the month, we’d either roll it over to the next month and have even better date nights than normal, or just get it one “bonus” meal out before the month ended.

Here’s the big awkward one that you totally don’t have to answer but it does end up taking up a large portion of our income… did you tithe throughout the process?
YES! (If you’ve never heard of tithing, a lot of Christians believe in giving 10 percent of their income back to God, through their church or charities.) It’s always been so important to us to give back, so that’s one non-negotiable for us. I think just the act of giving – even when money is tight and it doesn’t feel like there’s room – does so much for your spirit to give you peace and, at least for me, reminded me that it’s not mine to begin with. We’re just here to manage what God gives us. (One of the greatest joys since paying off our mortgage has been how much it’s freed us up to give more. It’s absolutely addicting!)

Did you have items like cable, smart phones, and gym memberships cut out?
We didn’t have most of those things for most of the time. I had a smart phone through my job, but Andy didn’t get one until very recently when he started needing it for his job. We used a digital antenna and online streaming for tv shows and movies, and never had a gym membership. (I like to do exercise videos, like P90x, Insanity and T25, so that’s my alternative to the gym.)

How do you prioritize which debts to pay off first?
I’m a big fan of the debt snowball method, where you pay off all your debts from smallest to largest. We had some student loans that we paid off before we bought our house, so we knocked those out first. Here’s more on the debt snowball method.
Snow ball


Some tools for the process
I really love these free budget planning forms from Dave Ramsey’s site. I also LOOOVE his baby steps for getting out of debt. It makes the whole process seem more attainable because you just go one step at a time, and eventually you’ll eat the whole elephant. If you’re looking for more info on this stuff, I can’t recommend his book Total Money Makeover enough. That book will walk you through the process and get you pumped up and motivated.

Help from the Pros
It’s smart to get help from a pro when you want to make the most of your money. Dave Ramsey has trusted professionals to help you start planning for retirement, maximizing your savings for the kids’ college fund, and buying a home you love and can afford. Find a local real estate, insurance or investment pro in your area right here!

Everything from how to create a budget to how to keep yourself motivated! Super helpful.

Anyone have budgeting tips to share? What are you doing to reach your goals?

This post was sponsored by Dave Ramsey’s ELP program, but all opinions are my own, as always!

Let's connect


  1. Great tips Kelly 🙂 I love your splurge and Andy’s is too funny! xo Kristin

    • Sweet, right? When we’re paid off my husband will probably splurge on white t-shirts. Gotta love ’em.
      Thanks for the tips! It’s nice to see you budgeted for eating out and it was a relief to know that other people spend that kind of money on groceries…I thought I wasn’t trying hard enough at being frugal there…

  2. I love all these tips. We did a ton of these tips while saving up for our down payment and it really does work.

  3. Wow Kelly! This is the best write up Dave Ramsey/budgeting principles that I’ve seen outside of actually being a party of Financial Peace or reading Total Money Make-over! Great job! You explain everything in practical, helpful detail. I’m definitely sharing! 🙂

  4. Christina says:

    Great post! We are on the same track as you. It’s always inspiring to see other people winning with money. I used to think a budget would be so constricting, but it has been totally freeing. I know what I can spend and have no guilt attached to spending it. Plus, I know that we are working toward our goals. So fun!!!

  5. Great tips! I too, purchased a blue leather purse (great minds think alike) two years ago and still love, love, love it! We have had our house paid off for 8 years now but yet we changed our lifestyle so much to get out of debt that it still shocks me that I can pay cash for a splurge. Not that I would use credit cards to purchase something (never again!) but that we have spending money instead of “paying down this darn debt” money. We are just as frugal then as we are now but our lives feels rich. Loving the blog posts – house, DIY, tips, and life stories!

    • I couldn’t agree more! It’s so fun to be able to go out to eat much more often now, and not have things be SO DANG TIGHT all the time. It’s like we can finally breathe!

  6. Thank you ever so much for sharing these wonderful tips and pointing the lost (me) in the right direction. My sister-in-law also using the same program/system. My question is, “How do you only spend $300 a month on groceries?”. Our family rarely eats out, if ever, and we sparingly order in. Most meals are purchased at the grocery store and prepared at home. We use everything we buy and eat leftovers. We don’t purchase expensive groceries (i.e. only organic), nor do we purchase unhealthy foods (processed or microwavable meals). I am aware of ingredients and limit those I don’t want my family to ingest. I also try to purchase things made in countries I trust (i.e. wary of Chinese products – the government, not the people). I don’t shop at Walmart and only visit Target for an occasional gift (usually a child’s birthday party). We shop at Weis, Safeway, and BJ’s (diapers – cloth diapers were not successful with our last child) for our food and household needs with coupons. We are a family of 5 (two adults and 8, 4, and 2 year olds). I am always skeptical when I hear of other families only spending a couple hundred of dollars per month on groceries. So, what is your secret? I appreciate your response and candid approach to such a taboo topic.

    • Well, for most of the time when we were on that budget, we didn’t have the kiddos, so that’s a huge difference. We try not to eat all the processed stuff and we buy all the dirty dozen fruits & veggies organic. We were couponing really hard during that time, like extreme couponing, and it was very, very tight. I don’t think I could’ve done it with a family of 5, especially with disposable diapers. That just means that your categories will look a little different than ours did.

      • Thank you for the insight and the honesty. I guess we will just keep plugging away as best as we can. I think the best decision both my husband and I made was to not have any education debt. He was lucky that his parents paid for his college education. While I am still 20 credits away from graduation and do not yet have a degree, I refused to ever take on an education debt. Good will to you all!

  7. Such great tips Kelly! I love that Andy splurged on socks! I think my boyfriend would do the same thing haha If I won the $30,000, I’d pay off my car and credit cards and put the remainder of the money towards our mortgage!

  8. I always love reading about how other people manage budgets (particularly when they do them well) but then you go and throw in a giveaway to win money and I’m a goner! I’m pretty sure I’ll win.
    That MK purse is gorgeous. I love that you named it The Precious. And the socks! You guys are too cute. 🙂 xoxo, Sharon

  9. Wow. It would be amazing to win this. I would pay off all our credit card debt and then have our small wedding (happening in 2015) paid in cash 🙂

  10. I would totally put it to our mortgage.

  11. Great tips Kelly! We like using for an online envelope option. This may not work for some but it gives me peace of mind that I’m not carrying so much cash around and I can still use an envelope system. For some reason my kids eat a ton and the grocery category alone keeps rising! 🙂


  12. Love all of your tips! And your purse is great! And I…oh how awkward… I didn’t realize Andy had so many feet…

  13. Adore this post! I always love the behind-the-scenes type posts about your real (non-blog) life:) My husband also just splurged on new socks and undershirts (but only when he saw 40% off)! They are so funny!


  14. Just recently started following you. Great article. Thanks for your transparency.

  15. I found myself at 20 years old with about $12,000 in debt that I stupidly racked up on credit cards (23% interest!!!) for things like manicures and shoes and vacations x_x One day I realized I couldn’t keep doing that… and made a plan. Making $26k/year (max) meant that facing down that debt was facing down a monster, but Dave Ramsey totally pulled me through! I listened to the show every day, obsessively. I lived on nothing, had several side jobs tutoring and doing freelance web work — I was able to pay my debts off in about 3 years (ended up paying something like $15k total back omg), and the snowball was definitely the answer — we always need small wins, fast 🙂 Thank you for spreading the word!! When you paid off your house, I remember watching the video with my husband and crying. We were so happy for you! <3 That'll be us, someday!!

    • Ah, I am SO proud of you! (Is that weird? I’m sorry. I just got goosebumps hearing your story.) Congrats on being debt free!

  16. Your posts always get me thinking about saving the ol’ $. We did so well paying off my student loans but have been “enjoying life” quite a bit lately. Your post reminded me of the little stuff (like ordering water at restaurants) that we need to get back to!

  17. Oh Andy! Socks! I actually totally feel him. Matching socks are a luxury! Love all your tips and how positive you are! So inspiring and fun on a tough topic!

  18. I’d use it to pay off the last little bit of our debt. We recently paid off the largest of our student loans and our car. We’re only a few thousand dollars from being debt free other than our mortgage. It’s crazy to think that we’ll have everything paid off (except the house) before 30!

  19. Thanks for the inspiration! I’m so impressed you have paid the mortgage off. I’ve been following Dave Ramsay for awhile now and used the snowball method also. We are now down to one car payment and 2 mortgages. I’m concentrating on our house payment rather than the rental once the hubby’s car is paid off. I have yet to make a budget. Its hard if your spouse isnt totally on board.

  20. spending ALL my fun money on brass animals…ok just kidding. but it would be fun!

    We are not doing the Dave Ramsey class but have followed him a little while paying off our debt. We are currently on baby step 5, however…we have no kids yet to save up for college for, so we are thinking of doing a switcharoo and working on the house until we have a future college kid to start saving for!

  21. You guys are so good at this. And I can’t get over the socks part. That’s totally something my dad would do.

  22. Such a fantastic post, Kelly!! Your splurge is so precious (hehe!) You always inspire me to do a little extra thinking about our budget and how we can be a little better with our $$!

  23. Omigosh, Kelly. So, I bought Dave’s Total Money Makeover like a year ago on my iPad. I read the foreward, put it down and never opened it again. Over the past few months, I’ve been saying to my husband over and over, if I could do one single thing, it would be to pay off this house. We owe 123k on it. If we could just do that, then that would be the security I could hold on to for forever.

    After reading your post this morning ( I so didn’t know you paid off your house. I somehow missed that post), I grabbed the book and I can’t stop reading it. I’m going to do this.

    Thanks for inspiring me. Not only with affairs of the DIY, but by just being friggin’ awesome. You embody everything I’d like to be doing better. Better at DIY, Better Blogger, and you paid your house off and are living debt free. It’s amazing. So, so proud of you, and so thankful you’re sharing this.


    • Oh wow! Your comment actually made me tear up a little. Thank you SO much! You are so going to do this, I can feel it. Let me just tell you that it is WORTH IT. The feeling of freedom and peace in having zero debt is just unmatchable. You’ll never, ever regret it. <3

  24. Tamira Johnson says:

    Hi Kelly
    First off, thank you so much for inspiring others by just being real: about yourself, your faith, your values, and your awesome sense of decor & creating beautiful things! My question is, what size is your family and how do you make it on a budget of $300 per month?! Honestly, that seems so little! Am I missing something here with meal planning, freezer meals, or ???? My husband and I use a monthly budget as well (inspired by Crown Financial). Thanks for your time and response. I’m truly curious and again very motivated to continue our on our trek of reaching financial freedom! (and perhaps checking out some of Dave Ramsey’s suggestions 🙂 )

    • Thank you so much, Tamira! The $300 a month was tiiiiiight. There was no extra room in that budget at all, and we did it with a lot of extreme couponing. We went several years in a row without spending a single cent on toiletries like shampoo, toothpaste, etc, because of couponing. But I will say that most of that time, we were only a family of 2 or 3. We did have to up the budget as our family grew. I think we went up to $400 when we had kids, and that was still really hard to make.

  25. Thanks for the post! We’re moving from our tiny expensive rental apartment to a (comparatively) huge inexpensive rental house in another city and are ridiculously excited for what that means for our budget. If I won, I’d probably chunk half of it in our emergency fund, and put the other half in a savings account to pull from for plane tickets. My family is (literally) 1,000 miles away and I’d love to be able to visit more than once a year.

  26. Brent D. says:

    Budget question: Where do you put money you spend at Target, Lowe’s, HomeGoods, etc.? Stuff for the house, birthday gifts, shampoo and such? Is that all in miscellaneous or personal spending money? I’ve always struggled a bit with how to nail that down.

    • We used the miscellaneous category for gifts, and we actually never spent anything on toiletries because we were doing some extreme couponing at the drug stores and you can get all that stuff for free. Home projects came out of our extra mortgage money. We split all our extra money between paying off the mortgage and fixing up the house, but I know that might not work for some people. In that case, you could just add an extra category for that stuff.

  27. Well I am so glad I went back to read the posts I missed in my bloggy hiatus! We will pay $300 on one last medical bill this month and $138.17 next month and then we will be debt free except our student loans! We are taking a nice vacation (already saved and paid for except for gas), getting our dog fixed, saving to replace my husband’s truck with one that has a backseat (in the final stages now to foster-to-adopt), re budgeting a few things, and then we will get back to those pesky student loans! Yay! I have crated some crazy spreadsheets, too and we have quite a bit of “envelopes.” Some get filled and spent every month (groceries, for example, never has money left over. It always works out that we buy something we don’t have to get every single month when there’s extra. Also sometimes groceries steals up to $20 from gas.) And others that intentionally fill up for a while before being spent (car maintenance and doctor, for example.) We used to do money we each get to spend and clothes, but last time I revamped the budget from scratch, 2 years ago, I took out clothes and we now have to use “our” money for that.

    • Oh, also, since I currently work as a sub for the school district, I don’t get paid a regular amount. We live off my husband’s regular salary and mine is extra. Instead of spending exact dollar amounts out of there, it’s divided into percentages: tithe, taxes (they take it out for me at the school, but my husband is “self-employed” as a minister so we have to save separately), vacation (transitioning to car replacement this coming fall), baby (for money we’ve spent along the way to become licensed foster parents), and me (I get a little extra “me” money from subbing and my husband from his side jobs. It’s just a little extra motivation to say “yes” when they call early in the morning!). It would never work for a regular monthly budget, but doing the percentages is awesome for extra income like this!

  28. If I won any money it would go straight to debt. Stupid medical bills. 2014 has not been the easiest of years so far.

  29. I was so excited when I opened up your blog this morning and I saw that you were talking about Dave Ramsey!! He’s one of my favorite!! Two years ago, we’ve started the Baby steps and we are very proud to say that it REALLY works! We are a family of 5 including 3 teenagers and we know what it is to live on a very tight budget 🙂
    In two years, we have paid off $50,000.00 living on a single income of $67,000/year. We’re almost there but still kicking very hard to pay the last $14,000 to finish baby step 2.
    We use the envelope system and pay everything cash. We don’t have a credit card.
    You can read a post about our story here…

    I tried to enter the contest, but it’s only for the US.


  30. Love this post! We try to live by a lot of these same rules, and sometimes it feels like no one else does. It’s so refreshing and encouraging to see that there are others out there who do! Thank you so much for opening up and sharing this, Miss Kelly! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

    ~Abby =)

  31. Ok, this is hilarious but we have been through a similar process. And when my husband made some extra cash on the side through mechanic work and gave me money to “go buy something pretty” I got a mustard yellow leather purse that I carried around and petted for the first two weeks I had it, and still adore it 2 years later. And my husband threw out his mismatched socks and got 12 identical pairs. Also(our house is not yet paid off) he plays around on the mortgage calculator app thingie on his phone to determine the ideal amount to put toward our payment each month and sees what would happen if we added extra chunks or monthy amounts. WE ARE THE SAME. 😉

  32. How do you and your husband divide up the cash? Does the grocery shopper get the grocery money, the mortgage payer get the mortgage money, etc. or do you divide it? Do you split the gas money (assuming you’re not together when you get gas)?

    Also, do you pay your mortgage in cash or just mentally put aside that money?

    • We didn’t pay our mortgage in cash. We just left that money in our account and paid it online. Usually I was the grocery shopper, so I took the majority of the grocery money and left Andy a little bit just in case he had to eat out without me or something, but that’s the general idea. Yep, we split the gas money. Sometimes toward the end of the month, we had to shift the cash around, and I’d take whatever he hadn’t used yet or vice versa. Hope that helps!

  33. OMG, his splurge. That is one practical man. Love your bag, the tips and sharing. Good stuff for all budgets, regardless of goals.

  34. Wow, you just gave me a kick in the button. I am just going to get my financial book and change few things! Thank you for sharing this, you always inspire me !


  35. You are SUCH an inspiration! I am currently in a budget rut. All my receipts are sitting in a pile waiting for me to go through them and see if we went over budget this month lol. My hubs has the spread sheet with income and all the categories, but we get SO HUNG UP on which category it falls into. Like ink cartridges, or a shelf we purchase on amazon. We have to do our own investments and life insurance payments, etc. so it seems like we have 30 categories. We both agree that we need to streamline but just finding the time to talk with 2 kids and his crazy work schedule is impossible. LOVE seeing this payoff (<– punny right?) for you. We also own 2 homes and just purchased 2 cars BUT we are still living within our means and plan to keep the vehicles until the wheels fall off. We had to sell and become a 1 car family last year when we both quit our jobs. Also I find it difficult to switch to cash because of bonuses like the 5% off at Target with the red card and our credit card points that we will cash out for cash, ya know? GAH my brain just spins trying to choose a method and I've felt like this for years. 🙂

  36. I love your blog and the inspiration for home improvement and living on a budget. We took the Financial Peace class several years ago and have lived on a budget ever since. We paid off one car and all our credit card debt. We are currently working on paying off our other car loan and then on to the house! It seems like such a daunting goal…one that we will never get to. Reading this post has given me some new motivation to keep at it! We splurged earlier this summer and took a 20th anniversary trip (we brought our boys along too) and I am feeling “guilty” about it! Wondering if we should have put the money toward our car loan. Our thought behind it was that our kids are only this age once and it will be years…our oldest out of the house…before we get everything paid off. So we decided to make some lifelong memories at the beach instead of paying on the car. We did not put any of the trip on a credit card and paid for it in cash but I still struggle with having a balance when you have a family and want to take occasional trips or do some special things with them. Your thoughts?

  37. Love this post! We have also started an envelope budgeting system and it has already saved us so much! Paying in cash whenever possible helps me to think about every single penny! I guess one other way we are saving money is by having a large garden this summer. We’ve already had several vegetables ready which cuts back on our grocery bill. Not to mention all the canning that will go on later this summer! Thanks again for sharing! 🙂

  38. Breanne clemmensen says:

    Hello. I read thru many of the comments. But I didn’t come across this one if I missed it I am sorry. What about medical bills? We have lots of medical bills and don’t see those anytime soon. This is were we have issues budgeting because it changes so much and we seam to never catch up.

  39. Love this idea and always fantasize about it…but, living in Silicon Valley in CA where the mortgage to income ratio is higher than most everywhere else, this hasn’t been feasible. Any tips for us sad Californians??

  40. Hey there – found your post on Pinterest & it has me thinking & hopefully soon motivated. I am terrible and making a budget. And when I do make one I am really terrible at sticking to it. I feel like I don’t know how to do it right, get frustrated & give up. We don’t have a ton of debt (part of a car, little bit of student loan & two small credit cards) but we’re sick of it. We want to save for our children’s future, for our future and of course have some breathing room! My basic question is – when you’re budgeting….where do you put “household misc” – like all the paper products, shoe goo, light bulbs, etc. I get frustrated when I shop at Target (or wherever) for groceries, end up buying stuff for the house & don’t know how to parse it out. That is probably a stupid thing to get hung up on and yet…. I am excited to check out more of your blog! Paying off your mortgage is pretty dang exciting!

    • You can either make a separate category for those things, like “miscellaneous” or lump it all together with your groceries. We lumped it in with groceries because we were usually buying groceries at the same time, and it was easier to pull it all from the same envelope.

  41. Hi,
    Im assuming this site is American, I just clicked thru from Pinterest and read everything. My big question is do you know if this would translate over to Australian conditions? Our average wage is like $50k (and we’re not earning that much currently) but an entry level house in our market in an undesirable suburb is something like $300k and an average family home is more like $500k. And there’s no couponing system here like in the states. We have crappy points programs when we shop at the big 2 supermarkets and no further concessions from the smaller ones. We just try to shop the specials but even that is almost impossible to plan. We are renting at the moment and I just want to know that owning my own home isn’t the pipe dream it looks to be right now. Thanks for the inspiration but yes, really hoping for it to translate. Or if you know of any financial gurus who specialise in Australian conditions? I only know of one and he’s not a Christian. Love to find a Christian one in this beautiful country. But yes, thanks. 🙂

  42. How awesome! Thank you for all the tips!
    We are just starting to do real budget because before we would only budget grocery and regular bills, and if we had anything left over we would feel like we owed it ourselves to spend it. Thank you Lord for Dave Ramsey book because it totally got me pumped and motivated for this.
    love your blog and going to be coming back soon!

  43. My husband’s income fluctuates because of the type of job he has. So winter months he makes less then summer months and spring and fall months are either very tight or very good to us. How would you budget on an income that is ever changing?

  44. My husband said once that he hopes he never stops appreciating how good a new pair of socks feel. Theyre a semi luxury around here too. Not just something that gets bought. New socks are pretty lovely.

  45. You say it’s something that needs to be agreed upon with your spouse…. My problem is my spouse is the worst person I’ve meet when it comes to managing money let alone trying to budget. There is always an excuse for him to need more money. Do you have suggestions on how I can get him on board? I’m tired of living in debt and want to start trying to get out! He’s tired of it as well but since I’m the one that deals with the money… Or lack there of he has no motivation to stick with a budget.. Or sit down and agree to one with me. HELP!?!?!?!?!

  46. The problem here and with So many other savings plans, etc is that no one ever tells you this is what I make and then this is how much I allocate to each category. I have a hefty house payment and animals and a great savings and no debt beyond my house. I also only make $10 an hour working manual labor. I have a bachelor’s degree, some management experience, and I’m an Esthetician. I’ve paid my dues. My husband killed himself. Our house was lit on fire by him beforehand. Right now I would love to be able to pay off the house I ended up with But I don’t really make enough money. I also feel like the only one out there with this problem.


  1. […] View Along the Way offered some tips for budgeting and answers to money questions. […]

  2. […] How to budget + answers to money questions – * View Along … – Well, for most of the time when we were on that budget, we didn’t have the kiddos, so that’s a huge difference. We try not to eat all the processed stuff and we …… […]

  3. […] Everything from how to create a budget to how to keep yourself motivated! Super helpful. > […]

  4. […] How to budget + answers to money questions | Read Sources […]

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