How to Create a Bulletproof Budget – Part III

Hello and welcome back! Today we’re continuing our series about creating a bulletproof budget.

If you haven’t downloaded the budget template yet, you can download it here for free, either as an Excel document (recommended) or a PDF document. Here’s a photo of the budget you can reference as well as we go through this.

Excel Budget Template  PDF Budget Template

If you’ve been tracking with us, then you’ll recall that there are only three simple steps to creating a budget: 1) Determine your Monthly Income, 2) Determine your Monthly Expenses and subtract this amount from your Monthly Income, and, 3) Determine what to do with the leftover amount (savings, giving, investment, debt snowball, etc).

We’re in the middle of step 2, and today we’re going to pick up where we left off on Monday, which is by going through the sections on the right column of the budget. Let’s jump right in!

Step Two: Determine Your Monthly Expenses

Living & Heath: You’ll notice that most of the budget is comprised of bills that involve your stuff (car, house, etc). This section focuses more on the expenses that involve taking care of you, such as food, clothing, personal money, etc. Here are some tips for navigating this section:

  • Grocery: When people try to make budget cuts to save money, they usually start with their grocery budget. We would actually caution against this, and here’s why: You will either pay for your health now, or you will pay for it later. Cheap = Unhealthy. If you shop cheap and buy junk because you “can’t afford healthy food” you just need to realize the incredible hidden costs to that decision and perhaps add a new line item to your budget for future medical bills.

  • Restaurants: If you really want to cut expenses (and some extra pounds), then here’s your chance to go crazy. Most people, especially those who don’t track their expenses, spend way too much money eating out. When we do our budget, we set aside $60 a week for eating out, which includes coffee therapy (Starbucks).

  • Entertainment/Dates: We budget enough each month for us to have a date night once a week. Right now, that’s $40 a week so we can eat out somewhere nice and not have to worry too much about price. When we were aggressively paying off our debt, we had an “eating out” budget of $30 a week, which included restaurants, date night, Starbucks, etc. Some people cut “eating out” completely out of their budgets so they can make more progress on the debt. But for the health of your marriage, we absolutely never suggest cutting out a weekly date night. Get creative and you can find some amazing free & romantic things to do every week.

  • Salon/Hair/Toiletries/Makeup/Clothing: These are all pretty self-explanatory, but here’s where some understanding and good communication is needed as gender differences will tend to creep up and cause tension.

    First a word to the guys: Your wife is designed by God with a deep need to feel beautiful. You’re not. Therefore, it isn’t appropriate for you to expect the same clothing or hair allowance as your wife. Sure, we should all make sacrifices when it comes to dumping the debt, but just understand that it is completely okay, and some would even argue needed, for your wife to spend more than you on these items.

    With that said, ladies, don’t go crazy. If you’re buried in debt, you don’t always need a pair of shoes to feel beautiful. Sometimes insecurity in both genders can lead to overspending in these areas. If you can understand that you’re wired differently, and you’re both willing to make some sacrifices, you can find the right balance on every one of these line items.

  • Personal Money: We’re going to skip the next three rows as they’re pretty self-explanatory, and jump to personal money. Having a personal budget is one of the secret keys to resolving financial stress in your marriage. Even if you’re buried in debt, we still recommend a small personal budget (maybe $10), just so you can maintain a sense of control and freedom, knowing that you can go out and buy something you want without needing an agreement from your spouse. For an in-depth explanation about this, check out our first post titled Three Ways a Budget Eliminates Stress and creates Freedom in your Marriage.

Stay tuned for the final post in this series on Friday!We’re going to wrap this series up on Friday by discussing the section about Debt and and going over step three. We’re working on some podcasts and we’re definitely going to cover this topic, so if you’re more of an audio learner then we got you covered!

As always, feel free to post a comment with any feedback, comments, or questions! What are you thoughts on the best way to cut expenses out of the budget? We respond to 100% of our comments!

Committed to your success,

-Wesley

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One Response to “How to Create a Bulletproof Budget – Part III”

  1. Juliana Says:

    Love this! The colors are so helpful and it so simple to use.

    I also appreciate your comment about guys vs. girls. I would like to throw something out there, and maybe this is something you could discuss in a later post, but it’s about second-hand, consignment and thrift stores. As a woman, I have a real need to have a variety of shoes. I can’t just switch from my work shoes to my running shoes like some guys do. However, new shoes can eat up the budget, even if they are on sale. I recently bought two pairs of top quality, previously warn shoes (Kenneth Cole, etc.) for $4 each at a thrift store.

    I have discovered that not all husbands really want their wives buying from thrift stores for different reasons, but sometimes it is very helpful. If that is the case, I would say, do it in moderation. Just don’t become a thrift-store-holic ;)

    Reply

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