101. How do I keep a budget?

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?

3 comments

  1. Yes, yes I do. And I like it. I tried one of those programs that automatically sync across bank accounts, but there were syncing issues once, and I prefer to enter it in manually. And I’m just used to it now.

  2. Good old Microsoft money. I can tell you pretty much everything I’ve spent since the end of 1996. Not so good at planning all the time but really good at recording. I just have always kind of kept things in my head, and have a pretty good feel. I think it was a gift I was born with. My family used to tease me that I would loose my money before I would spend it.

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