If you have been following this site, you know that I have recently reached my breaking point when it came to debt. That point when you look at yourself in the mirror and you are about to throw up because you have no idea how you got there and you feel like an absolute failure. So I went to the best resource I could find and purchased the Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey. I started listening to his podcasts daily and getting motivated. That, however, is a different blog post. This one is about how budgeting is a pin in my butt, but became easier.
So, as anyone knows, maybe you don’t but should, budgeting is a major step in eliminating debt. You need to establish a monthly budget that maps out your monthly income and expenses. If you haven’t done it yet, DO IT! You will list your monthly income, monthly expenses (utilities, groceries, gas, etc.), and then get your debts together and list them in order from lowest balance to highest balance. Don’t worry about the interest rates and don’t include your mortgage in this list.
You will then assign every single dollar of your monthly income to each of these items, putting money on the minimum monthly payments of your debts for now. With any extra income you have leftover, you throw that on your lowest balance debt each month until that is paid off. After that, you take the money you were paying on that debt and add it to the minimum monthly payment of the next lowest balance debt to pay that off quicker and so on. Dave Ramsey calls it the Debt Snowball.
Now comes the reason that budgeting is a pain in my butt. Between my wife and me, we have four different incomes that include full and part-time jobs and some side hustles. Some incomes are pretty consistent in pay cycles, but some are very different. I always end up going back in to the budget every month over and over and modifying it. So it never really becomes a budget, it ends up being a record of what I made and spent, which isn’t really the point. The point is to forecast what I have coming in and what is going out.
This makes trying to budget difficult some months. I know I am not alone in this scenario, so if anyone has any solutions to this, please comment to this post.
What I do have to say about budgeting is that it does get easier over time. You begin to refine things to a point. I have begun to slowly figure out how to approximate the incomes of the side and part-time jobs to where the monthly budget works but is still not 100%. I’m not sure any monthly budget is 100% realistic, that is why there is a difference column, right? You have to learn from what you did right and what you did wrong that month an figure out how to correct your habits in the coming months.
It is about habits, and changing them for the better. I am getting there and, since you are reading this article, I assume you have financial habits you want to change as well. I invite you to share your journey with others.