Category Archives: Budgeting

The No-Budget Budget

As a personal finance writer, I’m conflicted. I really believe in the power of budgeting — especially a zero-based budget. It can do amazing things for you. In fact it’s awesome, especially if you’re in debt or working toward some other financial goal.

But I know that many people hate budgeting. Sadly, extolling the virtues of one isn’t going to change their mind. Heck, even I don’t use a budget anymore (although I found zero-based budgeting massively helpful for many years, and still highly recommend it.)

So if you don’t want to give budgeting a solid try (meaning for at least 6 months), or if you find yourself with extra money available every single month, consider using the no-budget budget. » Read more

Budgeting, Shmudgeting: Is Budgeting for the Birds?

Do you hate to budget? Many people do. The very word “budget” makes them chafe as though they were being physically restrained. Others are huge budgeting fans, assigning every dollar a name (a la Dave Ramsey) and planning out their spending for the month with glee.

Then there’s me. I do have a spending plan, and I know how to budget, but realistically since I pretty much do the same thing every month anyway, I don’t give it a lot of thought. It also helps that my fixed expenses are very low, so I always have “extra” money to work with. (Unlike a few years back, when I basically had no money coming in and higher expenses.)

The long and the short of it is that while I’m a huge believer in the benefits of budgeting, if I had to pick a camp it’d be more the budgeting, shmudgeting one. That’s pretty much because I’ve automated my budgeting, though — so it doesn’t seem as though it’s something I’m actively doing.

Which is nonsense, of course.

What I really do is automatically send my money to a bunch of places, and then do whatever I want with the rest of it. As a result, I get the benefits of budgeting while enjoying feeling like I’m not. Here’s how it works. » Read more

How to Budget Without Making it a Chore

Budgets have a bad rap. Somehow, people have gotten “budgeting” and “crash dieting” confused — thinking of them both as something restrictive to be suffered for results. But they’re not the same at all. Here’s how to budget without making it a chore.

Before we start with the details of how to budget, the first step is to think about your budget’s real purpose. You might think it’s to control your spending, but that’s where many people go wrong. (You might or might not need to get your spending under control, but that’s another matter.) » Read more

A Minimum Wage Scenario

In the U.S., the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, although some states have different minimum wages. So Over Debt got to thinking about a client of hers who was excited to be making $7.50 an hour, and wondered how people survive on minimum wage. (Go check out her post, both it and the comments are interesting.)

My response was that it’s doable if you don’t live “normally” — meaning you don’t have a car payment, a student loan, a fancy cell phone, credit card debt, etc. — and if you live in a low cost of living area or have roommates. » Read more

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