You’ve tried your hand at budgeting. Creating detailed spreadsheets, tracking what you’re spending for a few days, whipping out envelopes and filling them with cash, but nothing ever stuck.
After about a week of full throttle budgeting you gave up. Your spending went back to normal and you decided your personal finances will be doomed forever.
Does that sound like you?
If so, don’t feel bad. I’ve been there before. In fact I used to try and stick to these crazy detailed budgets and then burnout would strike before I made any traction. To tell you the truth I’ve only tracked every expense I’ve made for one month.
So instead of being disappointed in myself on those months where budgeting just doesn’t work I’ve chosen to go down a different route. The route of the unbudget.
Wanna see how it works?
Set Your One Big Goal
What’s your one big goal? What’s the one thing you need to improve? (This could be paying off of debt, investing more money, saving, or even a combination.)
My goal is to save at least $500 every month to go toward an investment property.
Immediately Fund Your Goal
Every time you get paid sit down and pay all of your bills for that time period. Now buy yourself some groceries and fill up your gas if need be. You’ve just met all your basic living needs.
Take whatever is left over from your paycheck and put toward that goal.
You might have to use the leftover from every paycheck to reach your goal or you could reach it after one. Once you’ve reached that goal you set you’re done!
Just make sure you have an emergency fund before you decide to use this method, or you always have the extra added protection of tax refund advance loan as a last resort for short-term financial help in worst case scenarios.
Here’s two more options.
Caclulate how much money you need to take out of each paycheck to reach your goal and then have it directly withdrawn from your check.
For example if your goal is to save $600 and you get paid twice monthly, have $300 transferred to savings out of each paycheck.
Use a Specific Source of Income
What I like to do is use a specific source of income to fund my goals. This obviously will only work if you have more than once income source.
If you have a side hustle for example all the income you earn can go toward your goal. (Find some side hustle ideas here and here.) A good resource for this is Griffin’s 21 Side Hustles You Can Start Now.
Once You Hit the Goal You’re Done
People budget for a reason. That reason is to hit their personal finance goals.
If you can find an easier way to hit your goals (like automating or immediately funding those goals) then you don’t have to worry about tracking every single penny you spend. You’ll get peace of mind by knowing you’ve accomplished your goal for the month and can use your leftover money for whatever your heart desires!