When we first started budgeting, I can honestly say that we had very little idea of what we were doing! At the time, I don’t think we even had an internet connection at home so we had to rely on our mobile phone data to browse online and do a bit of research here and there. Pretty soon, though, we realised that there’s an absolute wealth of information available online; we just had to tap into it.
So I thought I’d share a few budgeting resources that we’ve found helpful over the years, as we were learning the ropes.
On our journey to becoming credit card debt free, we relied the most on Dave Ramsey’s advice. We read all the resources on budgeting he had, and still has, available online, and for free (you can get started here). In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’ve learnt the most from his advice. It made sense to me. It was straight forward and easy, and with time I have learnt to enjoy budgeting. Not only is regular budgeting essential if you are trying to pay down your debt, and you need to find “extra” money in your budget to do that, but it also helps to curb your spending (if you’re a spender) and discipline you when it comes to saving for the future, and controlling your finances in general.
One of my favourite Dave Ramsey’s quotes on budgeting is this: “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” So true. We only realised how true that was when we actually started budgeting. Dave Ramsey’s advice is to create a zero-based budget in which each Dollar (or Rand, in our case) is accounted for, be it for expenses (fixed, variable or fun expenses), paying down debt (if you have any) or savings and retirement.
What also appealed to me, and I think I remember this from one of Dave Ramsey’s videos, is that he encourages both parties (in a relationship, or marriage) to become involved in the budgeting process, with the one partner usually being more organised, and with the other being more of a free spirit. Well, that certainly was (and still is) the case with us! I’m definitely the more organised one, and I like to crunch numbers, create lists, and budgets, but not without input from my other half.
Another really awesome resource by Dave Ramsey is the Dave Ramsey show. We always enjoy listening to his show because I feel that we’re always learning a lot, and if you are in debt and trying to pay it down, his words of advice can be motivating for you to continue on your journey. So many different people phone in with financial difficulties e.g. credit card debt, student load debt, bankruptcy, etc. and Dave gives advice on air. It’s so interesting, at least for me, to see how all the advice on budgeting, getting out of debt, following the Baby Steps, etc. can be applied to so many different financial situations. The basics are the same, and I guess that’s what I like the most about Dave Ramsey’s advice to budgeting – “it works every time”. You can catch up on episodes of the Dave Ramsey show on You Tube or download the app on your smart phone.
And because I’m a very visual person, Dave Ramsey’s budgeting advice on using cash envelopes also appeals to me. I love charts and lists, mapping out progress, and even using envelopes. That’s why I love following The Budget Mom blog. The Budget Mom, Kumiko, documents her budgeting process each month, and also gives us some nice freebies to use if you sign up for her mailing list, such as colourful envelopes to budget for holidays, and plenty of inspiration via her Instagram posts.
Personally, I never used to like budgeting when I was younger, and perhaps at that age one’s outlook on money is a bit different. Now, I actually look forward to that time of the month when we start putting our budget together. I love my lists, and envelopes, and my budgeting binder book. If we get too busy at work or at home, we’re always reminded that we need to start preparing our budget for the month ahead as those very first bills and invoices start arriving in our inbox ahead of pay day!
What are some of your favourite budgeting resources?
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