Make a Budget

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Image by r.lovewell via Flickr

In the past, I’ve gone through a detailed series of budget lessons demonstrating how to make a budget and showing my personal budget spreadsheet template.  If you weren’t here to see them develop, you probably haven’t seen them at all.    I’ve never built an actual index for those posts.

This is the master index of my budget planning resources.  As I develop more, this will grow.

Budget Lesson #1 – In this lesson, I go over how we handle discretionary income and I explain our modified envelope system.   The discretionary budget contains things like our grocery bill, or the clothes we buy.  We have near-total discretion over what is purchased, hence the name.

Budget Lesson #2 – Lesson #2 contains the details of our monthly bills.  These are the ones that are consistent, predictable, and actually due each month.  Most people take these for granted as the bills they have to pay, but it’s not true.   You can get almost all of your regular bills reduced just by asking.   You would also be surprised what you can do without, when properly motivated.

Budget Lesson #3 – This is where I explain how we deal with the non-monthly bills.  That is, the bills that have to be paid, but are not due on a monthly basis.  I also share the personal budget spreadsheet template I developed.   I am working on a few sample templates to match various imaginary scenarios.  If you’d like to be an anonymous case study, and get free help setting up a budget, let me know, please.

Budget Lesson #4 – In this lesson, I describe our “set-aside” funds for things that will need to be paid eventually, but not on a set schedule.  Sometimes, they are never actually due.   We set aside money for the parties we throw, for car repairs and for a number of other things.  A few of these items are outright optional, but they are part of what makes life fun.  You can’t make a budget without including some of the extras.

Budget Lesson #5 – This is the companion piece to lesson 2.   Learn how I’ve reduced–or attempted to reduce–each of these bills.   For the better part of two years, I called Dish Network every few months to ask for a discount.  For almost 2 years, it was granted.  Then one, day, they told me they were putting a note on our account to keep us from getting any more discounts, so I canceled.   100% discounts help us save more.

Budget Lesson #6 – This is the reduction companion to lesson 3.  These bills are harder to reduce.  Have you ever successfully gotten your property taxes lowered?

Budget Lesson #7 – This is the reduction companion to lesson 4.  Notice a pattern, yet?

Budget Lesson #8 - Here, completely out of order, is the reduction companion to lesson 1.   Watch as I magically reduce–or rationalize–our discretionary budget.

So, dear readers, what part of budgeting should I address next?

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  • 5 comments

    Comments

    1. Very good step by step approach to helping people get started on budgeting. Yes, property taxes can be lowered but there are specific timeframes and deadlines following a new assessment. The county has the paperwork to request a review. There is definately some homework involved. Also, older homes that have not been updated can often be lowered. Check with your county office if you believe your taxes are over-assessed. I was able to get mine lowered on my older home and assisted others with the paperwork when I worked at a real estate office.

    2. I’ve got an older home, but it’s had a lot of updates over the last few years, and I don’t think it’s out of line with anything in the area.

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