A Practical Guide to Setting A Budget (Part One)

I’ve written about budgeting before, but now more than ever so many of us need to set up a budget that works. One that is easy to stick to. There are so many ways of doing a budget, so many styles- cash envelopes, bucket/different accounts, multiple debit cards for various budget items… It can be tricky. I’m going to be breaking down the household budget, and how it can be done, how to shave money off your household expenses, and save money without suffering or feeling like you are doomed to a life of instant ramen and tap water.

Recently I re-did the household budget after noticing that spending was…Outta Control. Here are a few things that helped me:

Track all of your outgoing expenses for three months. I made a list of all the bills, expenditures, etc., and went through the banking transactions online. Then I averaged them. Using the average for each, I plugged each one into a Google Sheets page.

Some of the categories I had are:

  • Mortgage (This includes impounds for our Homeowners insurance and property taxes)
  • Gas/Electric*
  • Gift Fund
  • Transfer to Savings
  • Life Insurance
  • Auto Insurance
  • Hulu
  • Car payment
  • Kids 529
  • Netflix
  • YMCA
  • Internet
  • Credit Card Balances
  • Student Loan Payments
  • Water Bill*
  • Groceries*
  • Fun Money (stuff to do with kiddos/girls nights in/date nights)*
  • Gasoline*

Of all of these categories, the only ones that have any difference per month are the ones I indicated with an asterisk (*). For Gas/Electric and the water bill, I averaged the cost over three months and used that amount for the budget.

The categories I included above are what is in my budget, you may have other items that my family does not. Some of the expenses such as Health Insurance and retirement savings come out of paychecks, so for our family, they are not included in our budget. You may wish to add them to your budget if you pay them directly.

Cash for some Budget Line Items: For items such as groceries, fun money, and gasoline I visit the ATM each week and take out cash. I paperclip the money for each budget line item together, and keep them separate in my wallet. When the money is gone, no more spending.

Doing cash for those line items really helps me take a hard look at shopping for groceries (this is when cash back apps, couponing, and price per unit knowledge all come in handy), and making sure that I am getting the best deal on gas (I have the gasbuddy app, it’s very useful). Any unspent money gets rolled over to the next week.

Making the ends meet: It’s important when you are adding up all expenses that once you add them up, subtract that amount from the money you bring in (wages, side hustles, selling plasma, whatever). If you are spending more than you  and you should be left with some money leftover. If you come to a negative number… Bruh, we gotta talk.

For example (and this is just an example):

  • Total income (including side hustles): $5000
  • Total household budget per month: $4500
  • Total amount leftover: $500 This leftover amount can be kept in your main account for unforeseen expenses, or move it to savings, or pay down extra on reoccurring debts (like car payment, student loans, or credit cards).

Uh, so if your number comes back negative, like this example:

  • Total income (including side hustles): $4500
  • Total household budget per month: $4600
  • Total amount leftover: -$100

Yeah. Bad times, my friends. That means you need to cut $100 from your budget. My next post about budgeting will go over what and how you can cut from your budget without feeling like you are suffering or living hand to mouth. I promise nothing crazy or nothing that I would not do myself if needed. And you can expect that post tomorrow.

Not all all related to setting a budget, but when I was searching for Budget stock photos, this photo of fruit salad was tagged “budget”. And I love fruit salad, so I had to include it. 

Earn Even More Fetch Rewards Points with The New Fetch Debit Rewards Card!





If you use Fetch Rewards, check your email for this offer. If you are new to Fetch Rewards, click here to learn more about this awesome cash app and how you can earn rewards, such as Amazon gift cards just by doing your regular shopping and scanning in your receipts.

Fetch Pay card features include:

  • Earn Fetch Points for every dollar you spend with your new Fetch Pay card.
  • Use your card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted, and at over 55,000 nationwide, surcharge-free ATMs in the Allpoint Network.
  • Receive up to 10,000 bonus points when you start using your card, plus 100 bonus points on each purchase made in the first 30 days.**

Directly from the email, “To give you the easiest and best card experience, we’ve partnered with One. They provide the expertise and customer support to power the banking side of Fetch Pay. Plus, you’ll have access to all of One’s other awesome banking features.***”

I signed up because I’m willing to a guinea pig for all of you. I transferred $50 into my account, and my debit card will be here in about a week. I plan to use the card a few times and see how the point awarding goes. I’ll report back once the thirty days are over.

I’ve been using Fetch Rewards for about 3 years and I consistently earn $20/month, just by doing our regular shopping. Now that Fetch Rewards accepts virtually all receipts, even tris to the gas station earn rewards!

The best part of Fetch Rewards is that it is not store specific, which is great. If you havent’ signed up yet, Use my code ND2TB when you sign up and you’ll score Bonus Points (amounts vary from 1500-4000, depending on the current promotion they are running).   

Fine Print:

  • *This card is issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International.
  • **Up to 30 purchases
  • ***Banking Services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.