6 Tips to Refresh your Budget

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6 ways to refresh your budget

It is no surprise some people love all things money and numbers and others…well they despise it. The reality is budgeting and financial awareness is a necessary evil if you want a secure financial future. Today I want to share with you 6 tips to refresh your budget and my hope is it will motivate you to take your money seriously.

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Tip #1
Call your budget a spending plan. This little reverse psychology helps you feel more in control of your money than using the word “Budget”.

Tip #2
Both spouses have to be involved when creating and maintaining the spending plan. Having two separate accounts and splitting the bills down the middle is not what a marriage is supposed to look like. When you become married you become one….this included your money.
If your spouse has a spending issue and you are afraid to let them have access to the money then be the support and encouragement they need to gain professional help.
Not everyone is a born natural with money. If you are and your spouse get frustrated when talking about money and one has taken over the responsibility of creating a spending plan I would recommend you both to get financial coaching so the lines of communication are opened!

Tip #3
When you create your spending plan use the Zero Balance approach. Using the zero balance method may seem strange at first because you actually want to spend all your money but in reality, what you are doing is taking control of every cent by telling it where to go.
The zero balance approach to budgeting also helps first-time budgeters see how much money they can afford to spend each paycheck.

You can learn how to create a zero balanced budget here.

Tip #4
Plan for unexpected expenses in your spending plan.  No one can plan for everything but don’t be the person who plans for nothing. Set up a slush fund (or several we have 6 slush funds) and contribute money to it each month just for unexpected expenses. This fund should not be included in your savings account or emergency savings.

Tip #5
Evaluate where your money is held and your expenses. This would be items like insurance policies, savings accounts, investments, medical bills, credit cards. Anywhere your money is held or spent. Look for ways to increase the interest earned in savings accounts or investments. Ask for a detailed printout of all bills to make sure there are not any strange or unidentified costs. Negotiate lower interest rates for credit cards. This task can be tackled in small chunks but don’t get into the habit of mindlessly paying your bills.

Tip #6
Whether you are using cash or debit card track your spending for 30, 60, or 90 days. This process will open your eyes to just where your money is going.  I believe everyone should have a general idea of where their money is going but committing to a time frame and diligently logging where you spend money will help give you a fresh perspective on this issue.

These 6 tips are great ways to refresh your budget. Not all of us are born with excitement about creating spending plans and being in control of our money. This means we can get lazy or complacent in budgeting. I hope these ideas motivate you to get your hands dirty!

If you are struggling to create a spending plan or get out the current plateau you are in Family Money Coaching or Financial Goal Setting may be a great option!


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Budget Refresher


Creating a Wise Christmas Budget

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Creating a Christmas budget

Christmas is a retailers dream, the credit cards companies bread and butter, and nightmare for families just making it. The extra expense of the holiday combined with time off and the pressure to meet status quo can be debilitating to families across the nation.  Today I want to share with you how to create a wise Christmas Budget but first a few stats.

“According to figures derived from a national survey completed by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average consumer plans to drop a cool $935.58 on gifts, food, cards, postage and decorations for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa this year”

In the Get a L.I.F.E. Tribe I took a poll and asked about the families typical tendency for Christmas Spending:

  • 45% tend to over spend 
  • 36% stick to their budget
  • 1% does not keep track of spending
  • 1% struggles to find the extra money for Christmas

Some of the takeaways from this data are clear most people over spend on the holiday and the price tag for Christmas keeps going up each year. So how do we combat this so we don’t have a Christmas “Hangover”? Creating a Wise Christmas Budget!

Step one to creating a Wise Christmas Budget is to PLAN EARLY!
Fear, anxiety, and lack of a working budget keep most people from starting yearly. It is easier to wait until the last minute and put off paying a bill or swiping a credit card than it is to discipline yourself and put $50 in savings every month for Christmas and KEEP IT! However, starting early is the only safe way of knowing you will have enough money.

Step two to create a Wise Christmas Budget is to know who you are buying for.
This may sound simple, spouse, kids, parents….but one common thing that happens is last minute someone buys a gift for you and you feel like you need to return the gesture OR you just get in the spirit and want to give. For this reason, I list all of my family, co-workers, church friends, teachers, Sunday school workers, and bus drivers, anyone that I may receive a gift from or want to give to. (Side note: this is normally well over 30 people…my trick is that most of my gifts outside the family are food or handmade gifts).
The third step to creating a wise budget is to assign each person on your list a money amount.
This process will help you determine how much to save for step one. This step is also one of the trickiest. Do my children have to have the same amount of money spent on them? How do I know what the gift I am going to get someone costs?  I don’t make enough to cover the cost of my list?
The questions could go on and on. That is why completing this step is so important. I can’t tell you all the answers but I can make some suggestions.

  • Your children should have a set money amount and gift amount.  If we hit the gift amount before the money amount we are done or Vice Versa.
  • As for a gift list early! I send out an email in August or September and I keep a running list of gift ideas in my planner. People mention things all the time “man I would love to have that!”. Just take note. 
  • Do your research. Spend some time pricing things online. Also, make sure you are looking at reviews, competitors’ products, and similar items that may be a little cheaper. 
Step four don’t forget to budget for the Christmas items that are not gifts!
I call this the forgotten step. Christmas automatically comes with additional expenses like decorations, food, travel, photos, and more! Don’t get caught just planning for people gifts.

The Five Step in Creating a Wise Budget is to decide how you save the money.
I bet you thought I was done. Nope. If you do not plan the execution of saving the money you won’t! Now you have to look and see where the money will come from, how often you will save towards the Christmas budget, and where the funds will go so you don’t spend them.

I have written a 4 Part Series entitled “How to Save on The Holiday’s” If you are in a position that you cannot spend a large amount on Christmas this series will be very helpful for you!

Saving Money on travel during Christmas
How to Save on Travel

Finally, for anyone that joins The F&F Pulse before 10/1/2017 I will send you a free Christmas Tracker and a guide with the 5 steps and additional tips!

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Now I want to hear from you do you tend to over spend on Christmas, under spend on Christmas, struggle to find the money, or not track your spending at all?


creating a Christmas budget


Meal Planning for a Whole Month

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Monthly meal planning is not something that comes easily to many busy families; in fact, MEAL PLANNING does not happen in most homes. This post will teach all you need to know so you can conquer meal planning once and for all.
Conquer Meal Planning Once and For All with Monthly Meal Planning


Fighting the Wealth of Opportunities

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Fighting the Wealth of Opportunities

I sit in my new office listening to music with my candle lit I have to admit this writing process seems unfamiliar. Maybe because it has been months since I have written to you using this platform, maybe because my words are now more clear to me and that means more transparency and openness.  Whichever it is, know that writing this post today is truly inspired by my transformation and a newly found surrender to God.


Simple Valentine's Day Brownie and Craft

Valentine's Day is not a major holiday in the Ward household. That being said I do like to do 2 simple Valentine's Day treats and a small craft with the boys. Today I wanted to share with you a simple Valentine's Day Frosted Brownie Heart with Homemade Cholocate Frosting and a sweet heart print we did a few years back. 

Simple Valentine's Day Food