Paycheck Chronicles

Babystep into Budgeting

Does the idea of budgeting scare you, or feel overwhelming?  I love this personal finance stuff, but budgeting makes me crazy.  There are too many categories, and too many variables, and it feels like it takes a lot of time.

That's why I love this idea:  pick one or two categories to start.  Food is a great place for families to start, and eating out is a place where most people, singles or families, could begin.  For my family, it would probably be both of those groups.  Decide what is a reasonable budget for those items, and stick with it.  This one small step will help you learn more about your spending and probably save you a little money along the way.

I want to start right now, but we are at five weeks out from our PCS.  The packers come in less than a month.  I'm not sure this is the right time to be starting any big changes.  On the other hand, I could create an eating out budget for the time until we PCS and see how we can do.  I wonder what would be a reasonable amount?  I tend to think that we don't eat out much, but those little bits add up quickly.  A lunch here, pizza on Friday (it's a tradition), a special celebration now and then...suddenly you've spent a lot of money on food away from home.

So, here's your challenge.  Pick one category, one that you have some control over, and set a budget for the next month.  Or until the next payday, if that works better for you.  With a conscientious effort, you can cut your spending in one category by a lot.  Better yet, you'll develop some new habits that can save you money into the future.

Don't make this harder than it has to be!

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