Allison over at Frugal on the Prairie has an excellent resource to start our budgeting off right! Not only did she author ‘The Beginner’s Guide To Budgeting’ but she also has valuable freebies too! These freebies include a goal worksheet, an expense tracker, and wait for it … my personal favorite … the personal budget spreadsheet! I personally use a 12 column columnar book to record our income and expenses. Yes, pen and paper! I’m a little old fashioned that way but Allison’s budget spreadsheet does the math for you!
No matter your system, Allison doesn’t judge! She guides you through the process of finding the budget system that works for you! Allison explains different budgeting methods, how to use them, and walks you through the budgeting process step by step. She also includes many real life examples along with a healthy dose of encouragement!
After reading The Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting, I wanted to know more about Allison’s budget and guess what? She let me interview her!
Are you ready to listen in?
What inspired The Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting?
I wrote a post on my blog, Frugal on the Prairie, about a budgeting technique (The 50/20/30 Method) that I had fallen in love with a few years ago. I just assumed I was the only one who had never heard of it, but was surprised to receive so many messages saying, “I had no ideas this existed! Thank you for sharing.” It was my ah-ha moment, realizing that I wasn’t alone in having to actively search for the best ways to budget.
I’m always trying new budgeting techniques and felt “The Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting” had to be written so that all of my research wouldn’t sit at home collecting dust.
What is the hardest part of budgeting?
I find that the real struggle comes in keeping track of every little expense, as well as actually sticking to the planned budget. It can be easy to write everything on paper but when you have to pack a lunch for work or make coffee at home instead of buying Starbucks, things become more complicated.
To overcome these, I recommend keeping track of your expenses in the way you know will work best for you personally. If you need to use an old-fashioned notebook or register, do it! Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. If you prefer to keep track electronically, I list some of my favorite apps in my book and especially recommend Mint.
You wrote, “Budgeting starts with you, not the money.” Can you tell us more about what you mean?
We can have the most innovative budgeting apps and impeccable organization, but budgeting really starts with our mental state of being. Are you prepared to remain positive no matter the financial hardships that may come your way? Without an optimistic attitude, budgeting can feel more like an awful chore.
I should also note that if you find yourself constantly changing the way you budget and the methods you use, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Obviously, each situation is different but it isn’t necessarily an indication that you’re doing anything wrong. Life changes. Let your budget change too.
Are you a Spender or a Saver?
Oh goodness, I’m a little bit of both. I believe in finding that personal finance harmony between the ultimate tightwad and the shopaholic. Trust me, it exists! Save the money where you don’t care so you can spend it where it really counts.
For example, I personally buy all of my t-shirts at Walmart because the price in unbeatable and my son is going to splatter yogurt on them anyway. But I like to buy Gap jeans because I find it’s the only brand that will last for years on me. I don’t care about my t-shirts so I save there, but I care about comfy, high quality jeans and will spoil myself a little.
Allison, thank you for sharing all you have learned about budgeting and for encouraging us to use the system that works for us! I’m definitely old-fashioned when it comes to tracking expenses but your Personal Budget Spreadsheet has me thinking twice. I also love your advice to change up the budget as life changes! Whew! I can totally relate with the tightwad shopaholic too! I thought that was just me.
If you’re ready to dive right in, you will find Allison’s ebook by clicking the picture below! The goal worksheet, expense tracker, and personal budget spreadsheet are linked right in the ebook for ultimate convenience!
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