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Want to know one thing that has never worked for me?
You know the ones that are three pages long, with hundreds of categories? Defining your income, spending, and bills down to the very last penny?
Yeah, my brain just doesn’t work like that. Which is strange, because I love paperwork. I was one of those kids that grabbed applications from fast food counters just to fill out for fun.
What has worked for me is simple, one page “action plan” budgets. I can grab a piece of paper and fit my whole budget on it. It pretty much works like this:
1.) List all your monthly bills.
I write down everything from my rent payment to my Netflix subscription. I look at my calendar and jot down every bill in the order that it’s due.
2.) List your monthly income.
Then I’ll write down all the income I can rely on from my and my husband’s jobs. Any overtime, side job money, etc. is not included because I just don’t know how much I can expect to earn that month yet.
3.) List two or three variable expenses.
Next I’ll estimate how much I can expect to spend on gas and groceries weekly, then I’ll multiply that by the number of weeks in that month to get my monthly total. I also throw in “miscellaneous” as kind of a catch all category.
4.) Subtract bills and variables from income.
So basically, income – bills – gas, groceries, & miscellaneous = remainder left over. This is the amount I have to work with each month to throw towards my goal of becoming debt free, or to add to savings.
And that’s it!
This is the one budgeting system that I know I can actually stick to each month. I believe it’s because it is not too complicated or overly restrictive.
You may be thinking, “will this budget work for me?” And that’s a great question. Only you can know what will work for your situation.
For instance, you may spend a good chunk of money on shopping each month. In that case, you’ll probably want to add in “shopping” as a variable expense category just like gas and groceries. If you know there is a category you spend money on every month, you’ll need to write it in the budget somewhere.
Want to try it out for yourself?
The only way to know if this is a budget you can finally stick to is to give it a try. Take ten minutes and a piece of paper and pencil and write it out. You might not even need that long!
Your turn to try the one page budget.
Try out the one page budget and let me know what you think. Did getting it all out of your mind and onto paper help calm your mind? Do you prefer the longer budgeting methods? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!