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A Single Moms Vent
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Budget Guide for the Single Mom
Creating and adjusting to a budget is a pain in the rear, but necessary. You can try a printable budget worksheet to track your monthly spending so you know where your money is disappearing off to, and then you can make the changes that will help you get life moving in the right direction.
As much as I love (loathe) organizing, it didn't take long for me to learn the skill of budgeting. I am what old folks call a tight wad and I am good at living within my means, but creating a budget and sticking to it has always been a hard one. I usually start the month on the right track, but it seems like there is always something lurking around the corner ready to take a yummy bite out of my bank account.
Budgeting isn’t something we learned at my school, though, I think they're teaching it now as an elective. Doing it on your own is scary! Admit it.
There’s never a bad time to start budgeting, but you also won’t have any more success if you start at the “right” time because there isn't one. In the past, I have made a lot of excuses. Extra expenses come along – like car repairs and medical bills – to throw off my plans. If I’m honest, though, there is always something. Y'all know that purse was on sale. No refunds.
How to use a budget worksheet 💜
In my own budget, I included only the expenses that I have. However, there's a few categories for this printable that I think many people use. For example, I don't use Amazon Prime but do have a dreaded cable bill. I'm one of the lucky few that don't have a car note RIGHT NOW, but that'll only last until my hunk of junk makes it's final puff of smoke on the side of the road. (I do love that thing)
The budget worksheet that you'll get to use is one another super mom created and is divided into three main categories: household bills, necessities, and irregular expenses. Household bills are the regular monthly bills that are necessary for your house. Get over it, you have to pay them.
The second category, necessities, is things that you purchase regularly with a flexible amount. The last category, irregular expenses, is really divided into sub-categories. These expenses are once in a blue moon things and can change from month to month. The “fun shopping” sub-category is kind of vague, but it is also the easiest to DELETE when necessary. Start by writing in your income sources at the top. Also, fill in the date for each week. (Don't get antsy, because I said add dates) Now start keeping track of how much you spend! Before you can make changes to your budget, you need to know what you are already doing wrong. Every time money comes in or goes out, write it on the correlating line under the appropriate week. It doesn't matter if you're paying a couple dollars for soda, because it adds up. When you get to the end of the month, add up your totals. No cheating!
Where do you spend most of your money? Where can you cut back? If your
income is flexible, how can you earn more if you need to? Did you realize you were blowing so much in one area? Yeah. I found that out, too.
How to create a budget 💜
Once you know how much you earn and blow through, you can try to create a budget. Only you can determine what needs to change. You need to stick with it to start seeing changes.
After going through this worksheet myself, I realized that I was spending a lot more cash than I thought on food (my kids could eat a grocery store). I was
sticking to my grocery budget for weekly shopping for the most part, but I also ran to the store for things I forgot every other day! I don't like to eat out, but even the occasional drive-thru order was adding up. Using my budget worksheet, I discovered that we were spending about six weeks’ worth of food budget
every month. I was mortified.
To fix this, I’m doing two things. First, I’m trying to pay more attention when I make my grocery list and utilize the crap out of coupons, try a little meal planning, so that I
don’t end up making extra trips to the store. And if we run out of something, it has to wait until the next week. The second thing was to cut back on the fast food. When
I make a simple meal plan I can stick to, we are less likely to hit the drive-thru.
It’s easy to think that a few dollars here and there don’t make a difference, but they really do add up. Those drinks are NOT cheap.
I think that it’s okay to take a few months to create a good budget if you have the time. It has to be realistic if you are going to stick to it. You probably need to update it often, because things change. Print several of these and track how your spending changes over a few months.
Printable budget worksheet 💜
This budget worksheet fits on a single 8.5×11-inch page. You can print as many copies as you need for personal use. You may need to allow popups or give permission to download.