My Personal Budget Journey

Budget Life - Know Your Budget

This is the kickoff of a series of articles on budgeting and creating a budget. At the end of the series, I will debut a new class on called the Budget life. There will be a free basic version and a paid version that gives you time-saving and money-saving short cuts.

The History of My Budget

Growing up I received an allowance from my mother. She gave me $2 per week. On allowance day, my older brother and I would ride our bikes uptown to the Five and Dime store (yes- that was the name of the store) to buy candy and baseball cards. We would each purchase $2 worth of candy and cards then go outside to the fountain to eat our candy and see what baseball players came in our new pack of cards. Our money was completely gone once we left the store.

I finally got a paying job in the 8th grade. I worked for a farmer who paid my brother and me $2.50 an hour even though minimum wage was $4.25.  From this point forward, every time I got my hands on money, I spent it.

The Simple Budget

Once I started college, I worked on campus, but each paycheck was signed over to the school to help pay my tuition. My parents would send me $20 every couple of weeks and that was the only spending money I had. On Sunday nights, I had to fend for myself for dinner, so I had to save enough money to pay for dinner each week. This was my first venture into thoughtful budgeting and saving.

A Little More Complicated Budget

During the holidays and over the summer, I worked at the school’s physical plant to make extra spending money for the year. That money was put in my drawer for later use. The summer after my sophomore year, I got a job at a bank so I opened a checking account. I also applied for Best Buy credit card so I could buy a computer. Now, I had bills to pay and needed to budget for that.

After college, I bought a car, rented an apartment, and started paying all of my bills. I ate lunch out every day and had a credit card. My credit card balance kept going up and up. Finally, I got tired of not knowing where my money was going so I downloaded Microsoft Money and started to track my spending.  I knew where my money was going, but I still did not have any control over it. When I got paid, I paid bills and the rest was paid for with a credit card. I was paid twice a month, so I checked my mail twice a month and paid any bill that was due before my next paycheck.

The Right Budget

It was not until 4 years later that I started to learn budgeting from my wife. My concept of checking mail twice a month to pay bills drove my wife nuts.

Today, I know where every penny is going. We have our budget broken into 34 categories and we track spending and adherence to each category on a daily basis. Credit cards are paid off monthly and my wife pays bills every week. We pay ourselves first (31.5% of our money goes into savings) and have been able to take care of any expense that comes our way. It feels great!

The Budget Journey

Getting to where I am today did not happen overnight for me and you should not expect it to happen overnight for you.  In this series of articles, I’m going to teach you the basics of creating a following a budget.  My class at will help you with more advanced topics such as what to do when you fall off of the budget wagon and how much money you should be saving and spending in each category.

The Budget Assignment

You have two assignments this week to help you achieve your Budget Life!

  1. Sign up for my newsletter.  This will give you help tips and encouragement along the way to keep you on track.  I will also be offering a coupon to my email subscribers for the Budget Life course.
  2. Tell me about your budget journey in the comments section below.  I will be checking in on these comments as I am creating my course to ensure I am answering your questions.



The Budget Life! Series

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