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My husband and I have been working out of a strict budget for several months now. It's really great. It was hard at first, but very worth it. I wanted to share how we went about figuring things out...
The basic rule is: Don't spend more than you earn.
Now, I know a lot of you are saying, "Well DUH!" but you'd be surprised at how many people have hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card debt just because they didn't follow this rule!
1) Take your paychecks (if you work on commission figure an average) for the month. Write that number down.
2) Gather all of your bills. Write that number down.
3) Subtract bills from paycheck. This is the amount of money you have to spend on living expenses.
4) If you drive figure what you spend on gas (this will be an estimate) Subtract that from the number.
5) Figure out what you need for meals. Personally, we spend about $500 a month on food (including the raw milk...so closer to $350 on actual food)
6) Give yourself some money for fun stuff!!! We have a "blow fund" that we use on eating out or silly purchases.
7) Do you have any money leftover? You can put that toward debts (that's MY recommendation) or put it in the food or "blow" fund!
8) We work with cash. If you don't like cash you can always keep a detailed list of when you spend money. ALWAYS KEEP IT UP TO DATE!!!
So, those are the basic steps to a budget. Trust me, you'll feel better if you do this.