Making your own home budget from scratch can be incredibly difficult. If you’re like me, you end up staring at a blank screen and trying to figure out what categories to put on it and how exact it needs to be.
Not to mention that the math and the charts can be incredibly difficult to get working correctly in a home budget. I have great news though. I made up a free home budget for you to download. And the instructions to make you the most successful at using it.
It is vital that you work with a budget of some sort so that you can be successful as an adult. A home budget lets you pay off your debt faster, whether it’s credit card debt, student loan debt, or any other type of debt.
However, you can also use your home budget to help you save up for a new home once you decide that home ownership is right for you. Or maybe you want to save for a trip to Hawaii, I know I certainly do. Whatever your goal is, your budget will help you get there.
What Categories Should I Put In My Home Budget?
The hardest part about making a budget is trying to figure out and decide what categories to include. To be honest, I can’t give you a definite answer because it’s very individualized. Your budget is unique to only you.
However, I can give you some pointers on common categories that should be included in your budget. At the very least, they will probably give you some ideas of what you can include to personalize your budget.
A Special Note On Your Savings For Your Home Budget
I want to make one thing clear. If you are going to be successful when writing your own home budget, you need to treat your savings just like one of your regular bills.
Once you think of your savings, whatever you are saving for, as something that you HAVE to pay, you will find yourself saving more than you thought was possible.
I promise, this is the best way for your home budget to help you.
How Do I Write A Home Budget For Unexpected Costs?
I can see you looking for the problem with this plan. All you can think about is that the last time you set a budget, it failed because there was an unexpected cost that the budget didn’t account for.
Budgeting For An Emergency Fund
It is true that surprises happen and it’s impossible to plan for everything. The best way to budget for those unexpected expenses is to write you home budget with an emergency fund.
This is a savings fund that you can use for new tires, an unexpected medical cost, or any surprise.
Putting In A Spending Money Amount
The other thing that you can do with your home budget that will help you to be more successful is to budget a spending amount. Basically, this acts as your allowance.
This is money that you set aside each month to spend on whatever you want and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. Sometimes, you buy a new watch and other times you save up for a bigger purchase in a later month.
Apps To Help With Home Budgets
I also understand that, for some people, the whole excel file for your home budget doesn’t really work. You won’t always have a computer with you or accessible.
One important thing to note: these apps only work with spending that is on a card. If you use cash frequently, the apps won’t track that spending.
Mint is my very favorite app for people just starting out with their home budget. It is simple to use and you can easily see your information all in one place.
I started with Mint as my first budget app and it’s come a long way since then. You can now get an idea of where your credit score is on the home screen.
Mint also allows you to set your own budget categories and gives you a running tally of how much you have left in each category throughout the month.
My only issue with Mint was that it didn’t categorize my spending well and I had to go back in and do it manually quite often. My understanding is that you can train it to learn what spending is what but I never seemed to master it.
I haven’t personally used YNAB, which stands for You Need A Budget. However, I’ve heard it recommended by numerous people on many different parts of their financial journeys.
It is a mobile app specifically geared to making budgets easier to follow. Based on how many people have recommended it and how highly it’s recommended, I struggle to see how it wouldn’t measure up.
For people slightly more advanced, I highly recommend Personal Capital. It is not really a budget app, though it does that as well. Instead, it tracks your overall financial net worth.
This app is more for people who can stick to a budget on a regular basis since the budget portion is tougher to use. I will say though, the tracking of my net worth actually helps me stick to my budget because I can watch it grow over time.
I still use Personal Capital for my finances. There haven’t been any issues with it and it’s simple enough to use for just about anybody. But, at the same time, I’m not using it for a budget, only to trach my net worth.
Writing a home budget and sticking to it can be one of the hardest things you will ever do. The point is that you should at least try in order to be financially successful. After working with your budget for a while, you will find that it becomes second nature.
Once you learn to stick to a budget, you can save up for a new house, save to refinish the bathroom, or save for a rainy day. I’ll be there for you every step of the way if you have any questions.