Budgeting is one of those things that is essential for life.
Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration – I mean budgeting isn’t on the same level as breathing, water, or shelter.
If you want to succeed financially, then budgeting is essential. Budgeting, when done properly, leaders to better quality of life because excellent budgeters have more financial resources, less stress, and better communication with their families.
But what happens when the budgeting process is, itself, complicated, or causes stress?
The Big Guy & I have been guilty of this in the past. There was a time when we complicated the budgeting process so much that it actually negated the other advantages it brought. Finally, we realized we needed to simplify budgeting.
We had the tendency to fill our budget with too many categories. But that’s just one way of many that you can make budgeting harder than it has to be. Some couples may not communicate on a regular, scheduled, basis about their budget, causing frustration over communication. Others may not work as a team. Still others I’ve known have struggled with communicating too much about their budget – leaving them at each other’s throats about every single dime spent.
Have you ever found yourself in any of these situations concerning your budget?
I’m thankful to say, that The Big Guy and I have successfully navigated most of the scenarios above, and we have found that doing 1 simple thing not only simplified our budget, it makes it easier and more convenient to communicate about our budget.
What is that thing, you ask?
I call it the “Everything” budget category.
What is the “Everything” budget category?
Everyone I’ve heard of using this type of budget category has their own name for it, and uses it in their own way – which is what makes it so awesome. Everyone can tailor it to their needs.
Personally, I call my “Everything” budget category “Couponing” in Mint.com. ( I use Mint.com for all my budgeting needs) This budget encompasses everything that you can buy at Walmart: Groceries, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, paper supplies, personal care, and almost everything else. The only exception is clothes, because we don’t usually buy clothes from Walmart.
Why does the “Everything” budget category work so well?
Have you ever made a Target run and bought only groceries? Have you ever made a Target run for toilet paper and came out with only the paper in hand?
Yeah, me neither.
Besides the ability to tailor the “Everything” budget category to your families’ needs, the Everything Budget category saves you hours of work.
When you make a Target (or Walmart, or Aldi) run and buy more than just groceries, you would typically need to spread your total purchase among several budget categories. Dumping everything you generally purchase at one time into a single category not only saves you time (and a bunch of math!) it saves you stress.
Once you implement an Everything budget category you have a total amount to spend in the month. You can divide it up however you want amongst groceries, toiletries, and whatever other categories fall under Everything – just as long as you stay within the total budget set for the month.
How you can benefit from the “Everything” budget category?
Setting up an Everything budget category saves you time, as we talked about earlier, since you don’t have to divide up receipt totals into several different budget categories. Additionally, using this awesome Everything category makes it easier to communicate with your spouse about your budget – therefore ensuring you stay on budget.
How can you implement the “Everything” budget category?
Implementation of the Everything budget category is relatively simple. Whether you’re using a web-based program such as Mint.com, software like QuickBooks, or even the pen & paper method, you can still roll several budget categories into one.
Step 1: Decide which categories you would like included in your Everything budget. Some categories for consideration are: groceries, pet supplies, personal care, and cleaning supplies. Remember, the easiest way to set this up is to include everything you would buy at Walmart or Target.
Step 2: Add up the current totals of all budget categories and set that as your Everything budget.
Step 3: Don’t forget to delete the old budget categories!
The Big Guy and I have been looking for ways to simplify our lives, not just concerning money, but in every other aspect.
However, we do find that a lot of the simplicity we’re trying to develop in our lives circles back to money eventually.
It’s kind of sad, but ultimately we have to realize that life revolving around money is here to stay.
All we can do is our best to make it simpler and easier.
Do you use an everything budget category? If not, is this something you could see yourself doing?
Leave me a comment and let me know ;_)
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