Last Sunday I announced to my young women that for our weeknight activity on Wednesday I was going to teach them a skill that would make all their dreams come true. I actually said those words, and I widened my eyes at them for emphasis. I’ll be honest, I said this because I thought if I said “Wednesday night we’ll be learning about budgeting” then no one would show up, but I really do believe it. (We had excellent attendance, by the way).
Budgeting is such an essential life skill and I feel like I didn’t really learn it until I was living on my own. My parents talked about living on a budget and I understood the basic idea, but we were always deep in debt and food stamp years were offset by years of overspending. When we had, we spent and when we didn’t, we struggled. My husband comes from a similar household, and it’s interesting how it has impacted us so differently. Handsome worries about money. Always. No matter how much we have, he worries that it isn’t enough. For me, sitting down and going over our budget at the end of the month makes me feel so good, so secure and safe. While it’s true that since we’ve been married we haven’t exactly been rolling in extra cash, we have always been able to pay our tithing, all of our bills, save a little and have a little to rollover each month. While I endeavor each month to bring down our grocery and gas spending, I know that we are doing just fine and that is awesome. So I wanted to teach my girls to not be afraid of a budget so that they don’t need to worry about money.
When I asked the girls why they thought budgeting could make their dreams come true I was pleasantly surprised by their answers; we can afford to live comfortably, we can save up for things that we want (school, travel, shoes, whatever), being responsible with money will be attractive to a future spouse, we can afford to have children, to retire comfortably, we won’t be in debt… They understood that living within our means will keep us free and happy.
Here’s my budget worksheet. I kept it a word document so you can alter it however you need to. As a side note, being the Excel junky that I am I’ve gone a little crazy with our household budget. There are multiple worksheets, formulas up the yin yang and it’s all cute to boot. So how come when my husband saw this simple word document did he say “How cool! Is that for us?” What?