Budget Basics 101: How To Rock Your Finances in 2018

Happy TUESDAY! One of my husband and I’s goals for 2018 is to keep on top of our finances because we’d love to be able to buy a house at the end of this year. Of course – that means we have to put money aside for a downpayment and make sure we are living within our means. It’s important to us that we don’t overspend during the month so we can comfortable save while still tending to our basic needs and covering any emergencies that may come up. SO – based on how Adam and I are tackling finances this year, I thought I would share what is working for us, with you. I hope you find this super helpful in keeping your spending habits on track so you can save for that big purchase, too. This is easily adaptable for single income households if you aren’t married – so adjust where necessary. 🙂 SO, here we go: Budget Basics 101: How To Rock Your Finances in 2018!


Budget Basics 101: How To Rock Your Finances in 2018

List ALL sources of income between you and your spouse.

Be honest about exactly how much you are bringing in a month. Don’t overestimate this number – if anything, underestimate. For us, we know exactly what Adam brings in monthly, but my income fluctuates by month. So, we put down what we know for sure we can count on and anything extra is a bonus. 

List out all of your non-negotiable bills: mortgage/rent, loans, medical bills, utilities, phone/internet, etc.

Make a list of each bill you MUST pay monthly without negotiation. These are things you have no room to budge on (we all need a roof over our heads, right?). These are the easiest to budget around because they aren’t changing month to month. I like to list mine in order of greatest number to smallest number (starting with my rent, ending with my internet bill). 

List out all of your flexible bills.

This list will include things like grocery money, gas money, entertainment throughout the month. These are things that can be pinched if you need to find extra money in the budget and won’t get you kicked out of your home or apartment. Come up with a price point for each of these flexible items and stick to it. We budget out a certain amount for groceries, gas and going out so that we don’t overspend. Other things in this column could include Netflix/hulu, gym memberships (any membership for that matter), clothing budget. Anything you could comfortably live without (or with very little) or that you set the limit for yourself should go here in this category.

Budget Basics 101: How To Rock Your Finances in 2018

Leave a little bit extra to put into a savings account for your rainy day fund.

We try to put extra into our account each month to go towards our downpayment and emergency fund. If one of us goes to the hospital, we need to have money set aside so we aren’t scrambling to pay those bills. If we get in a car wreck or something else unexpected happens, you don’t want to be stressing about how you are going to pay those and still pay your rent. Even if you start small and only put a little bit aside each month, you can feel good knowing that fund is getting bigger for those just in case situations.

Put money into your 401K or similar retirement fund.

Most companies will match what you put in to a certain %, so don’t skip this! You should absolutely be putting money into a 401K or something similar so you can retire when it’s time. It’s important to plan for your future. Nobody wants to be working until they die, so make sure you speak with a financial planner about how best to make sure you and your spouse are taken care of when you get older.

Budget Basics 101: How To Rock Your Finances in 2018

Some extra tips:

Be partners on your finances. 

One person shouldn’t be the only one looking at the bank account. That causes confusion and stress that doesn’t need to be there. Sit down and define your roles. Will one of you be in charge of paying the rent monthly? Who handles grocery money? Do you each get an “allowance” of sorts to spend on things you’d like throughout the month? These questions should be tackles prior to coming up with a budget. Nobody should have the sole burden of handling the money alone. Adam and I like to sit down together once a month and make sure we are on track with our budget. 

Be open, honest and realistic with your expectations.

If you are making $2500 a month, it isn’t realistic to thing you can buy a $350,000 home or spend hundreds of dollars on discretionary items throughout the month. Be honest with how much extra you have after bills are taken care of and divide it up accordingly.

Use Mint!

This is my favorite budgeting app. I have it on my phone as well as on my computer. We hooked up all our accounts so we can see exactly how much money we have in all our accounts, and where we are spending a lot of our hard earned cash. It makes it SO EASY to see where we can cut back and how we do on our budget each month. This post is NOT sponsored by Mint – I literally just love it that much. It gives you your credit score, allows you to create easy budgets and then tracks your spending. Adam and I both have access so we can see where our money is going together.

Budget Basics 101: How To Rock Your Finances in 2018

Take cash shopping with you.

This one is a big one for me. I like to take cash when I go grocery shopping (or any kind of shopping) and leave my cards at home. It’s so much harder for me to hand over my actually dollars, so I am sure to stick in my budget. And once my money is gone, it’s gone and I can’t spend even a penny more because I didn’t bring my cards with me!! If you are a big spender, I suggest pulling out what you are allowing yourself to spend and ditching the cards when you go out. It is the easiest way for me to weigh how much I actually need something when I am giving the cashier physical dollars. 

PIN THIS FOR LATER:

Budget Basics 101: How To Rock Your Finances in 2018


I hope this helps you get your finances in order for 2018! One of my goals for my life in general is to always live within my means and to always be good with my finances. I never spend more on my credit card that I need to, and I always make sure bills are paid before I spend anything extra. 

Budget Basics 101: How To Rock Your Finances in 2018

Did you find this budget basics 101 course helpful? Let me know in the comments below how you plan on rocking your finances in 2018!!!

About The Author

Taylor Mobley

47 COMMENTS

  1. Amanda | 9th Jan 18

    One of my goals for this year is to spend less, save more and actually create a budget. This post was super helpful and I’m sure I’ll be coming back to it. Thanks for sharing these tips, I’m going to have to check out Mint, too!

    -Amanda A Good Hue

    • Taylor Mobley | 9th Jan 18

      You are so welcome!!! I hope Mint helps you as much as it helped us!!!

  2. Neely Moldovan | 9th Jan 18

    These are great budget tips. I think for so many it can be easy to ignore it

    • Taylor Mobley | 9th Jan 18

      It totally can but it’s so important to stay on top of it!

  3. Krystin | 9th Jan 18

    These are all great budget tips, and great timing to post this too!

  4. Evi Figgat | 9th Jan 18

    I seriously need to commit to bringing cash only—especially to target.

    • Taylor Mobley | 9th Jan 18

      It is a lifesaver, tbh. I save SO much money when I only have a certain amount to spend.

  5. Helen | 9th Jan 18

    I love MINT. I’m trying to get on top of my finances this year too. Thanks for the tips!

  6. Azanique | 9th Jan 18

    I love these tips! I just recently started going through my finances so I could make sure I was on top of my spending now that I am about to start paying my loans.

    -xo, Azanique | http://www.lotsofsass.com

  7. Jenny | 9th Jan 18

    These are some great tips! We’re working on being better with our money too this year.

  8. Kristen | 9th Jan 18

    These are great budgeting tips! Being very honest about how much income you’re actually making each month is very important and should be STEP #1! I also love that you said to make it something that you work together with your spouse/partner on, that is so helpful to be in it together!

  9. Tashina | 9th Jan 18

    These are great tips! Sorting finances can be a hassle for many but it is so beneficial to be on top and organized. It’s never too late to start!

    • Taylor Mobley | 9th Jan 18

      It’s so much easier when you are on top of things!

  10. Jess | 9th Jan 18

    This was great! Very helpful. Getting a handle on my finances and saving money is something I am really trying to focus on this year as well. You are so right about using cash instead of cards! It really changes your perspective of how much things really cost.

    • Taylor Mobley | 9th Jan 18

      Cash is my best tip – I use it ALL the time!

  11. ShootingStarsMag | 9th Jan 18

    Thanks for sharing. I have heard the whole “bring cash and not cards” idea. I don’t use a credit card; not yet at least. I’ll probably have to get one once I get a full time job to build up credit, but for now, I try and only pay for what I can. I do want to try and save as much as I can this year though.

  12. Kelsie Sabers | 9th Jan 18

    I love using Mint.com! This is one of my goals this year for sure! I already have a spreadsheet ready that’s planning out the best way to pay off my debt from our wedding in a timely manner! Weddings are fun, but expensive :/

    • Taylor Mobley | 9th Jan 18

      YES. That is great. I’ve got a spreadsheet for my student loans….

  13. Nicole | 9th Jan 18

    My husband is a finance man, he does this every single day at his job! I need to get more on board with his goals, I’m a total spender and need to focus more on saving this year!

    • Taylor Mobley | 9th Jan 18

      This is awesome! Definitely get on board so you can be financially secure in your future!

  14. Christina | 9th Jan 18

    My hubby and I so need to nail down a budget this year as well. Such great inspiration.

  15. Kileen | 9th Jan 18

    These are awesome tips girl! I am also trying to be better about budgeting this year, these tips are helpful!

    Kileen
    cute & little

  16. Chelsea | 10th Jan 18

    SUCH a great post, girl ! I’ll admit that budgeting is not my strong suite. I would like to get better at it!

  17. Erica @ Coming Up Roses | 10th Jan 18

    Mint is FAB. Also I can’t wait for you to buy a house down the street from me. It’ll be great! 😉

  18. Nataly | 10th Jan 18

    This is such a fabulous post! I needed this bc one of my goals is to save money this year!

  19. Whitney S | 10th Jan 18

    It is so great to get your finances in order, especially when you are planning on buying a house. It makes it so much easier and not as stressful! We just bought our house almost a year ago!

    • Taylor Mobley | 10th Jan 18

      That is awesome! How did you feel the house buying process was??

  20. Dr. K. Lee Banks | 10th Jan 18

    Thanks, this is an excellent list of tips and ideas! My hubby and I are working toward being more responsible and stricter with our budget, so we can work together on debt reduction and stashing money away in our savings and IRA. As a freelance writer and educational consultant in my 11th year (!), it’s always challenging to deal with my fluctuating and sometimes non-existent income, but we still need to have a plan and a budget that will work for us.

    • Taylor Mobley | 10th Jan 18

      Yes that is AWESOME! I totally get it about the fluctuating income – frustrating to say the least!

  21. Megan Elliott | 10th Jan 18

    These are amazing budgeting tips!! Thank you for sharing!

  22. Stephanie | 11th Jan 18

    These are great tips! I’m trying to be better with money this year too!

    xo, Steph
    http://www.urbanblonde.com

  23. Rachel | 17th Jan 18

    Definitely sharing with my husband because that’s our goal as well. To buy a house this year!

    xo Rachel – To Hell in a Handbag

  24. cherry | 11th Mar 18

    These are great budget tips!!

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