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How to Budget

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Budgeting Apps

budgeting apps

Alright friends, so you’d love to save more money. And you could certainly use a little extra cash in your pocket or some more cushion in your account, right? Right.

Picture it– going on a little weekend getaway with your friends, throwing a nice birthday party for your kids, buying help buttonyourself some new clothes, or just not having to stress about scraping money together for rent or groceries. But, how do you save money when you have all the bills and debt?

Well, budgeting is the simple answer. Then why not do it? Many of you downloaded the free budget booklet, so what’s stopping you?

Turns out, not everyone likes paper budgets. For many, a budgeting app is so much easier to deal with. If that’s how you are, then great! Because I’m going to compare and contrast the top 7 budgeting apps out there so you can decide which is best for you.

Pros and Cons of the Top 7 Budgeting Apps

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How to Budget in Just 5 Simple Steps! (Free Printable Budget)

Cover image of easy budgeting book

Stop Overspending Right Now with The Modern Mom’s EPIC Guide to Easy Budgeting!

Do you need a budget? Find out by taking the following quiz:

  1. Are you living paycheck to paycheck?
  2. Are you drowning in debt?
  3. Are you making bad purchasing decisions?
  4. Are you behind in your bills or do you get late fees on your bills?
  5. Do you wish you could save for the future, but you can’t?
  6. Are you afraid of the next big financial emergency because you don’t have any savings?
  7. Do you need help organizing your finances?
  8. Do you want to budget, but you don’t know where to start?
  9. Do you wish you could stick to a budget you have made?
  10. Do you feel like your finances are out of control?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you need a budget! Budgeting doesn’t have to be a pain.  It can be easy and you don’t need a degree in finance to figure it out. Anyone can do it! Find out how…

First, download the free eBook: The Modern Mom’s EPIC Guide to Easy Budgeting. It’s epic because it shows you just how easy budgeting can be. Sign up below to get the free download. Then follow the 5 simple steps below.

Easy Budgeting Takes Just 5 Simple Steps

Step 1. Find Out How Much You Spent Last Month

Worksheet image

For this step, you can use the worksheet from your download called, “How Much Did I Spend Last Month?” All you need is your bank statements and credit card statements from last month.  Then use the info on the statements to fill out the worksheet. If you have quarterly or monthly expenses that didn’t show up, divide them into monthly amounts and add them to the worksheet. Now you can see exactly what you spend. It can be eye-opening to see the actual totals for each category. So easy!

Step 2. Evaluate Your Current Situation

Using the same worksheet, list the monthly total of all your regular and irregular income at the top. (Use Appendix A in the packet if you need help calculating your monthly income. Or click on this post.) Now minus your total expenses from your total income. If your total is negative, you spent more than you earned and that means you either used up savings or added to your debt. If your total was zero or positive, but you have no money to put into savings, you still have a problem. You can fix these problems with the remaining 3 steps.

Step 3. Set a goal

Setting a goal is the most important step when making changes in your life. Under ideal circumstances, a person should be able to live on 80% of their income and use the other 20% to build an emergency account, give to charity, save for the future, or pay off debt. If you are not able to live on 80% of your income because your expenses are too high, then you need to cut back. If you can’t live on 100% of your income, then you definitely need to cut back your expenses! 

You’re in luck! I have created a huge list of ideas on how to reduce expenses. You can find it in your download on the page called, “87 Ideas to Reduce Expenses.” Select a few ideas from the list to try this month. Then, set a spending goal for the month. List your goal at the top of your “Monthly Budget” worksheet.

87 Ideas to Reduce Expenses

Your goal doesn’t have to be a drastic change from last month’s spending, just a little change (unless you are completely committed to a total financial overhaul). The reason for this is if you make the goal too difficult to reach then you might lose interest in budgeting and go back to old habits. If you make small improvements each month then you will gradually get things back on track.

Step 4. Make a plan

The plan that will help you reach your goal is your budget. It’s basically a roadmap for your monthly spending. You already put your spending goal at the top. List your income at the top also. Now it is time to set up the plan to achieve your goal.

Monthly Budget Printable

Divide your spending goal into categories on the “Monthly Budget” worksheet. See if you can get yourself to spend a little less in certain categories than you did the prior month. Once you have the budget filled out, put it on the fridge so you can see it regularly. At the end of the month, you will fill out the actual amounts to see how you did. That was easy right? Now you’re almost done.

Step 5. Pick a strategy that will help you stick to your budget.

  1. Use the envelope system with cash only purchases.  Then when you go to the store, you can only spend what is in the envelope.  This prevents you from overspending. See Appendix B for a cash envelope template. Cash Envelope
  2. Or try having an accountability partner.  This is where a friend or relative agrees to do the process with you and you check in with each other to make sure that you are sticking to the plan.
  3. Or sign the personal contract in Appendix C of your booklet to promise yourself you will stick to the budget.

Whatever strategy you choose, make a commitment to improving.

(The packet also includes several bonus printables to help you manage your finances.)

At the end of the month, see how you did.  Did you reach your goal? If so, congrats! Continue using this budget process each month and get yourself on the road to financial freedom.

If you didn’t reach your goal, try again. Don’t give up just because it was hard to adjust your spending. The only permanent failure is giving up. As long as you keep trying, you didn’t fail. Financial freedom is within your reach if you keep working toward it. You can do it!

Signup below to get your FREE copy of The Modern Mom’s Epic Guide to Easy Budgeting!

The Modern Mom’s EPIC Guide to Easy Budgeting: 28 Page Workbook with 87 ideas to reduce expenses, 14 beautiful worksheets, 7 bonus lessons, and full, easy-to-follow instructions.

 

 

How to Calculate Your Monthly Pay for Budgeting

Dollars

Are you trying to create a budget, but having trouble figuring out your monthly income? Look no further!

Here is the complete guide to calculating your monthly pay, no matter how you earn your money. Remember to always use net income (or take home pay) when you are budgeting.

Monthly Income Calculation Guide by Pay Frequency

1. Monthly or Twice Monthly.

If you get paid monthly or twice monthly, the calculations are easy. But if your situation is more complex, then go to the next section.

Paid Once a Month: Monthly Budget Income = net pay amount on your monthly pay stub

Paid Twice a Month: Monthly Budget Income = net pay amount on paystub X 2

2. Hourly With Varying Hours:  

If hours are always the same each week: Monthly Budget Income = Net pay per hour X Hours per week X 4.3

(4.3 is the average number of weeks in a month based on the 12 month calendar.)

If hours are different each week: Monthly Budget Income = Calculate Net pay per hour X Hours per week for each week and add those totals together

Or look at past pay history and go with that.

3. Every Week:

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Easy 5-Step-Plan for the Cheapest Easter Ever! (Free Budget and Planner Printable)

Have you ever gone to the store to get Easter supplies, planning to only buy a few things, but you end up buying the whole Easter section?  Ok, well maybe not the whole Easter section, but if you get up to the checkout and the total due surprises you, you might feel like you bought the whole Easter section.  If this is you, you might need a budget for the holiday. There is no need to overspend on Easter when there is an easy way to avoid it. With our free printable budget and planner, you can have an affordable and organized easter in just 5 steps.

Easy 5 Step Plan for the Ultimate Affordable Easter (with free printables!)

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