Get started BUDGETING

I’ve been budgeting for almost 3 years now. I was listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast the other night and they said the #1 thing someone can do to take control of their finances and build wealth is to make a budget. I couldn’t agree more. I can remember the first time we made a budget using Dave’s EveryDollar app in April 2019. We went from scraping the bottle of the barrel, maxing out our credit cards on groceries (I shudder now thinking of that) to finding $2,000 in our very first month of budgeting to throw at debt.

People who truly build their own wealth build it with a budget and a plan. They don’t accidentally build wealth with money they happened to have leftover that month, it takes intentionality.

I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a budgeting enthusiast. If someone tells me they are trying to get their finances in order, they are broke, they’ve been wanting to save up for a big purchase, I could gush for hours on what a game changer budgeting is.

If you were to ask, here is some advice I would give if you’re new to budgeting.

First of all, commit to budgeting for three months before you give up. I look back on our first month of budgeting and LAUGH. I had no idea how much we spent on what. I thought a grocery budget of $300 was plenty! Well, turns out if you quit eating out, you need a lot more food from the grocery store. Each month it got better and we were finally able to stay within our limits around month three because we had data to back up our spending categories.

Second of all, we combined finances. There are a lot of people who don’t do this – you do you. I personally can’t imagine budgeting any other way. It makes us work as a team, it makes us both feel like we are contributing. It is OUR money, OUR plan, to reach OUR goals. I started this whole journey with $8,000 in credit card debt that Craig didn’t know about. He had about $2,400 in debt from buying tools I didn’t know about. I can’t imagine a world where we would get to that spot again. That started with combining our finances and being crystal clear about our intentions with money.

Third of all, I cannot rave about the EveryDollar app enough! There is a free version but the $129/year we pay for it to sync with our bank accounts + the financial peace videos + the baby steps tracker/debt snowball tracker, it has made us SO MUCH MORE MONEY than it costs. Here are a few screenshots from our real budget. You just drop and drag the expenses into the proper categories – and bonus, I’m SO MUCH more organized when it comes to taxes now too! Even if you don’t use the every dollar app, please consider using a budgeting app of some kind, a lot of people use and recommend Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Finally, I’m in my budget EVERY DAY – it’s not something I just reflect on at the end of the month, it’s something I check in on DAILY.

For more info on our financial journey, check out these posts:

We Couldn’t Afford Cafeteria Food.

Baby Steps Update!

Back on that DEBT FREE wagon!


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  1. Anne D.
    January 25, 2022 / 2:07 am

    My husband and I use EveryDollar, also. As you said, it’s so important to keep up with it every day or 2. I agree with you that “our” money is much better than “his” and “mine;” teamwork is key! Congratulations on your commitment to get and stay out of debt. Won’t that debt-free scream feel great!

  2. Elle
    January 25, 2022 / 4:05 pm

    I did zero based budgeting as that’s what I learned managing a surgical service line. It works at home too. Like you/Ramsey, tracking every penny spent is the foundation. And evaluating every expense for need also was necessary. Mind you, I didn’t start that until years after hitting the edge of bankruptcy……at your age!

    I am proud of you and Craig for doing the hard things and for sharing with your readers to teach, help and motivate those who need to do this work.

    Happy Tuesday.

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