Hey guys, so as I have mentioned a few times, budgeting is something I really enjoy! I thought over the next few weeks I would share some of how I budget our finances so that we can save and still check off things on the ol' bucket list :) 

*please note, I am not a financial advisor by any means. I just love budgeting and thought I would share some real life tips and struggles we have*

1. First thing's first is figuring out where your money actually goes. You might be surprised at how much you spend on groceries, restaurants, coffee shops (my struggle) or on your kids clothing! There are a few options here to use an app like Mint, using only your debit or credit card, or you could go old school and keep your receipts. The main goal is to know where you are spending your $$$ so that you make a realistic budget for yourself. Budgeting is like dieting, if you try to cut yourself completely off or say "I'll never go out for dinner again" chances are your first few weeks will be successful, but in the end I have found you end up feeling like you have no life! I highly recommend using a program like mint!

Whenever our finances start to feel like they are getting out of whack, I watch our spending for a month, so that I can see how things work with all the bills and such over an entire month. If you are in debt or need a quicker turn around in your financial situation watching your spending for 2 weeks will give you a pretty clear idea on where your money is at! I like seeing the overall month as Josiah is not on salary and expenses change quite a bit in comparison to when he is in town or out of town!

2. The next important step is figuring out or discussing with your partner what your financial and lifestyle priorities are. For us that is outside of our regular bills for example, mortgage, utilities, groceries, ect. We count those bills as non - negotiable,  as you know, we like heat and having a home haha. We decided on our top three priorities and that helps keep us on track and reminds us when we want to splurge on something. We can see if it falls in our priorities list and if not, is it really worth it?

  1. Retirement.
  2. Damian's Education. 
  3. Travel

Of course in every family, your priorities are going to look different! A fun little activity you can do is each write down your three priorities and see if they align, if they don't discuss why you chose what you chose and talk through the best plan for your family. For me, travel was my first priority, which got knocked down a couple pegs haha. 

Let me know what you think about my first two tips and follow along next week to see how we designed our *simple* monthly budget :)