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Real Life On A Budget

How My Husband and I Create Our Monthly Budget

I tell people all the time: Sitting down with your spouse and making a monthly budget is one of the most important things you can do in your relationship.

Without that talk, you don’t have a plan for the upcoming month—and that’s when your spending can get out of control. Your bank account takes a hit and, more than likely, your relationship gets a little strained over arguments about money.

Our relationship isn’t perfect (what marriage is?), but Winston and I have figured out a solid routine for creating our monthly budget. Here’s what we do to get the most out of our budget meeting.

  • First, we make sure our daughter Amelia is asleep. If you’re a parent, you know it can be hard to have a grown-up conversation with the kids running around. For us, having a little peace and quiet when we break out the budget is always helpful!
  • Next, we take a close look at our calendars for the upcoming month. If there’s anything out of the ordinary, we talk through how it might affect our budget. Some examples might include a trip, wedding gifts or birthdays.
  • While we’re chatting about the month ahead, we both have the EveryDollar app pulled up on our phones so we can easily see our budget and make changes as we go. Then throughout the month, we use the app to track our spending. Who needs spreadsheets?
  • Finally, we look back at our budget from the last month or two and review our expenses. (With EveryDollar, this is really easy.) We look for any recent trends in our spending and adjust for the next month as needed. For example, last fall we budgeted for a lot of gas money because we were traveling to watch University of Tennessee football games. Once the season was over, we realized we didn’t use half of that budgeted money. We were able to adjust and have more money to spend—I mean save!

So those are four easy ways you can make your budgeting process even smoother. Everyone’s a little different, but give these a try and I bet they’ll work for you!

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  • Maere Floyd Gage

    Hello! My husband and I are trying to simplify our biweekly budget without missing anything or having too much left over. We are putting half of the bill and gas money in checking every payday. Is this productive?

    • J

      Maere,

      My wife and I have been doing this a while and we REALLY struggled to find a “system” that works. Years later, we have 1 account that our direct deposits go into, we immediately move the total amount for our monthly bills into another account (our “household bills” account), and we move our gas, and allotted spending into another “daily spending” account. We then have our emergency fund account, AND our fully funded “yearly expense” account that’s used for our car registrations, car and home owners insurance, regular yearly vet expenses, etc. It may sound like a lot of accounts, but we don’t regularly use more than 2. The others just sit there until we need them. Good luck and I hope this helps. Find what works for you. Remember its okay to “fail” as long as you’re “failing forward”. 👍

      • Maere Floyd Gage

        Thank you for sharing your system. We will try it!

      • diane

        this was helpful. Thank you