For years, Dillon and I were saving up to buy a house. We never actually bought a house, but we did renovate one, and we’ve been able to spend over $90,000 on the renovation without going into debt. I’m sort of proud of that, but I also recognize the unique circumstances we’ve had to be able to do that: we literally had free housing for around seven years.
I’ve tracked money spent and kept a monthly budget for my entire adult life. I use Microsoft Money to track expenses, and I have a spreadsheet to keep track of my budget and goals.
I haven’t always been great about keeping in the budget that I set. I don’t love putting limits on each individual spending category, but I do try to have savings goals, forecast expenses, and set financial goals for myself.
I try to live frugally, and ask myself whether I really need something or not. I don’t eat a ton of meat and I don’t eat out at restaurants very often. I don’t buy candy or soda very often either. I try to wear out clothes and only buy clothing that I really need, and to find it secondhand. I look for deals and discounts when I need to, but more often, I just try to limit buying things. And I really try to avoid the attitude that I deserve to buy things.
Sometimes I do better than other times. Sometimes I spend too much money and I get a bit impulsive. I’m not perfect at all.
So how do you make and keep a budget?