Have you ever wondered how to make a budget and stick to it? Setting financial goals is absolutely the first step to success, and figuring out the how can be the daunting part. Through this post I will give you the tools you need to finally see success.
This post is written in partnership with Qube Money, all opinions are my own.
By the time you are finished with this post you will have access to tips and resources that I wish I would have had YEARS ago.
Paul and I have always been passionate about setting goals yearly, quarterly, and monthly. In fact, learning how to make a budget and stick to it is what helped us to pay off student loan debt off early, get into our own home, and ultimately pay off our house before turning forty! (We are almost there…) So how did we do it?
How To Make a Budget
Start by making a budget. Okay, this sounds pretty basic in approach, but hear me out. When you’re setting a budget you want to get really cozy with the numbers you’re working with.
Pay attention to everything that is coming in and what is going out. It can be easy to assume you have more coming in when you first set out. Remember to subtract your deductions, such as for Social Security, taxes, 401(k) and flexible spending account allocations, when creating a budget worksheet. Your final take-home pay is called net income, and that is the number you should use when creating a budget.
Spending: What is fixed?
Next, set out to list all of your expenditures noting which things are FIXED and will not be changing month to month. These are regular monthly bills such as rent or mortgage, utilities or car payments. I also like to make sure to include preschool tuition, dance/karate class, and other unchanging monthly bills you can count on making. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to cut back on these, but knowing how much of your monthly income they take up can be helpful.
Next list all your variable expenses—these are monthly expenses that can change like groceries, eating out, shopping, and gas. This is an area where you might find opportunities to cut back. Credit card and bank statements are a good place to start since they often itemize or categorize your monthly expenditures.
Create Freedom by Assigning your Dollars and Giving Them a Purpose
Budgeting to zero means that when you create your budget, your income minus your expenses add up to zero.
Income – expenses = $0
When you budget to zero, you give every dollar you earn a job, even if that job is savings or an extra amount added to your mortgage payment. You don’t give yourself a buffer or extra padding.
Budgeting to zero doesn’t mean you spend every dollar you earn. Neither does it mean that you’re stuck with your categories for the month. This method actually allows for you to create emergency funds, travel adventures, and shopping days!
Gain Financial Freedom with Qube Money
I am a big Dave Ramsey fan and have tried in the past to stick to a monthly budget using the cash envelope system. The idea behind using cash is that emotion is tied to holding and spending actual, physical cash rather than swiping a card. You decide ahead of time how much money you want to spend in each area. I LOVE this concept. It is hands on, it is a physical, planned approach. HOWEVER…I never have cash, some locations don’t take cash and I shop online almost exclusively.
The cash system just didn’t really work well for me.
Set up your Qubes based on your individual goals.
Enter Qube Money.
Qube Money allows you the structure of giving each dollar a “job” so you are making a plan for each dollar that comes in. The best part is that these envelopes are utilized on the Qube Money app in a digital, easily accessible area.
This app isn’t just an app, it is actually an online bank that is attached to a debit/credit card that you can use online and any where that you shop! Its the structure that you can feel empowered with in the cash system approach, but the flexibility of a credit card.
What makes the whole process a bit different is that you are opening your Qube Money app each time you spend your money. This allows you to have a mental check in with where you stand in regard to your financial goals.
This feature also allows an added layer of security because if your card was lost or stolen is cannot be accessed without being “opened” without your phone.
Qube Money allows you a Hands on plan that you can check in with daily
I cannot tell you how excited I am about this app. Financial responsibilities is a class I wish we all took in school. Balancing checkbooks, sticking to a budget, and talking about financial goals seems to be taboo to some or a thing of the past. NO MORE! You will feel so empowered and connected with your partner through the Qube Money app.
More features are opening up daily. This app and bank is FDIC approved, works with online grocery shopping, Amazon shopping, and will soon have family features where you can set your whole family up for success.