I was asked to be on an expert panel for the Family Resource Agency Parent Training meeting. They asked me to speak on Budgeting. I know that’s a familiar word that most people use, but I hate that word. I prefer Spending Plan. I like to know that I can spend money, as long as I plan to spend it. Budgeting sounds restrictive. My Scotch-Irish ancestry flairs up and I think, Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do. So, Spending Plan sounds like I have control of my finances.
So, here’s what I do. I make a list of my expenses. I have one list for my fixed expenses and one for my personal expenses. Every two weeks when the paycheck hits my checking account, I automatic transfer my personal expenses into sub-accounts at my credit union. I bank with TVFCU. I REALLY love my sub-accounts. I have 10 of them. I then label each account. Here’s mine: Food, Vacation, House, Car, Husband MSM, My MSM, Boys, Daughter, Date Night With My Honey, and Christmas.
The reason I separate my fixed expenses from the personal is to stop stress from occurring. I want to make sure I have the money to pay the utilities, taxes, and phone bills. If I want to buy clothes for my kids or go on a date with my husband, I don’t want to feel guilt or not have the money. So, I sat down one time and figured out how much to put in those accounts. Then the automatic transfers take away my headache. If I want to go get a hair cut or have lunch with friends, I go to MY MSM and see if I have money to do it. I don’t feel guilty about planning a vacation because the money is there when we are ready to go.
So, some of the people that I meet and talk to about their finances will say to me, “That’s great, but what if I can’t afford to transfer money in to those accounts on a biweekly basis?”
- Have a garage sale
- Save your tax return
- Pick up an extra job
- Save your Christmas and Birthday money from parents/grandparents
- Sell your crafts on websites like Etsy
- Be creative with ways to earn more money
Whatever you choose, remember separate your fixed expenses from your personal expenses and fund it in a way that works for you. Don’t be restricted by the conventional ways you’ve been taught.