Brandy Ellen Writes

NH Blogger|New England Traveler|Positive Thinker|WAHM
How to Create {and stick with} a Budget

How to Create {and stick with} a Budget

Many of our online friends are aware that we run multiple membership sites. Last year when Mike got hurt, I was working crazy hours and as a means to help in any way he could, RetweetChores.com was born. Then to help with Pinterest threads, Tacks.io was born. We extended this further with Roundups.io to make creating Amazon roundups super easy with many options. We have gone on to create Rehashtag.com, VAProfile.com, PushBe.com, and LinkPops.com just to name a few. As you can imagine with over 7 membership sites that run on monthly and annual subscription models plus our own individual clients for web development, social media, and chore threads plus my two blogs – budgeting our income can get a little intense.

While we were running monthly income reports and analyzing where the money was coming from, we really never took the time to fully look at why we started to fall behind. Sure, there was an unexpected debt that put us back a bit and we are slowly climbing up from that but when evaluating our current monthly income versus business expense, you know a profit and loss report; the money is there but being placed somewhere else. We don’t do a whole lot extra, we haven’t purchased any new clothes or extravagant items, so why were we broke? Well, that’s where I am going to share how we reviewed our income, expenses both personal and business and then settled down on a road map to create {and stick with} a budget.

Tips to Help you Create {and stick with} a Budget

How to Create {and stick with} a Budget

Review three months back. An average of the past three months should be a good number to truly see your spending, profit and loss information so that you can make accurate changes.

Step One – Analyze Business Profit and Loss

As two work from home professionals, meaning we 100% work from a home office space and don’t go out to collect a weekly paycheck, we had to start by analyzing our profit and loss statement for the business. Upon evaluation we determined that we have a decent profit margin, probably a substantial profit margin compared to other business modules, so the business profit and loss is just fine. No need for change there.

Step Two – Analyze Personal Spending Habits

Since the business side is flourishing and looking pretty good, we had to go a bit further into our personal spending habits. We live off of PayPal predominately with some checking spending habits on my end. I use checking for FedLoan, Tax Payments, Car Insurance, and Netflix on a regular. The PayPal is used for the majority of personal spending habits so I printed off a list of spending by month. We went through spending using a highlighter to classify “convenience stores”, “Shaws” and “dining out”. Since those are the 3 main categories of spending that we felt may be “too high”.

Step Three – Review Each Category

We both know that convenience stores will include money spent for gas, powerades and other things we buy on a regular at the convenience stores but it has started to include milk, bread and other things that I just wasn’t getting at a grocery store because we stopped grocery shopping once per week. Shaws is also where I was spending in one day what I could be spending at Market Basket for weekly groceries. Dining out includes getting coffee daily at Dunkin Donuts but we also went back to getting our breakfast there on a regular. The review told us that spending was clearly an issue in the category of convenience shopping, which includes both Shaws and convenience stores.

Step Four – No Blame, Just Make Change

The final step we took was to not pass blame and get all mad, but rather discuss how we can address the bad habits that were costing us money. Basically, when Mike got hurt, convenience shopping made sense. I was running around more than not without much free time to get groceries weekly or do anything that would have made sense budget wise. We had to discuss bad habits of spending to create a roadmap of what we can do to change those habits. We determined that we will grocery shop once per week at Market Basket and include our breakfast stuff in that list. That reduces our spending habits significantly and we should see a change in about three months.

Step Five – Hold Each Other Accountable

Each of us made commitments as a means to curb personal expenses and to stay firm about our decision to get back on track. When I go to the convenience store for gas and the kids want something, I simply say no and only let them use their own money if they want something. If I am in the store and starving, I remind myself we have food at home and I don’t need to spend extra money on quick bites to eat. Mike has his own habits that have developed too and he has committed to making some adjustments there.

Step Six – Evaluate Every Month

Every month remain committed to run an expense, income and business expense report. Make sure to analyze your income versus spending at the end of each month. This really helps to let you visualize the adjustemtns are being made and within about three months of sticking firm to this budget, you should be able to see some light. It’s easy to fall behind and much harder to force yourself to curb those spending habits, but when you work as a team within the household, you will soon reap the true rewards of all your hard work.

Together we work to try to get back on track because together we truly become an unstoppable duo. Right now it’s’ hard because we see all of this money we are making go out the window but I am trying to keep us both on the same page that in three month’s time, we should start to see a reward for our efforts in creating {and sticking with} our budget.

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What have you done to make better financial decisions for your household? Was it difficult?

Brandy Ellen is a born and raised NH resident who enjoys living life to the fullest. Raising 3 kids and a pug, Brandy spends her free time writing for her two blogs – ParentInfluence and Brandy EllenWrites. Brandy is also a ghostwriter for other blogs, click here to hire Brandy to write for you.

12 comments found

  1. I think with budgets you’re always going to slip but just learning and moving forward helps. Also tracking EVERYTHING!

  2. We do keep a budget but more so that we know where we are at any given time. I’m afraid to go through our spending…I’m sure “eating out” and “wine” will be through the roof!!

  3. Thanks for these tips. I never go shopping without a list. We keep track of our spending and saving activities so we are aware of how or where our money goes. Sticking to a budget is not only the responsibility of one member of the family. It should be a collaborative effort for it to be successful.

  4. I think that making each other accountable is so important. Just like with a diet or anything else. Everyone in the family needs to be accountable and make sure they are on plan. Great tips!

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