Best Way to Make a Budget to Avoid Arguments and Stay Out of Debt
By Sandra Wellman
learned long ago, if you donít set aside money now that you will
need for bills that are only once or twice a year, you might not
have the money when it comes times to pay them. Budgeting takes
discipline. Whether you have enough money to pay your bills or
not, if you donít have a plan youíll get yourself in trouble
and increase your debt.
seem to always be arguing about money. Itís probably because we
never seem to have enough of it. Hereís the way my husband and I
pay our bills, and it reduces the number of arguments and heated
you have access to a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or
similar, that would be the easiest to use. If not, just write
everything down on lined paper.
write or type the company name for all the bills you have to pay
for the entire year in your first column. You may have to look in
your check register to remember them all. Make sure you have all
of them, leave nothing out, no matter how small.
write down all the expenses you have in that same column, like
groceries, pharmacy, pet food/supplies, cable, phone, dinners out
the second column, you will write the monthly amount you spend for
this item. If itís a yearly bill, you need to divide it by 12
and write down that figure. Round up to the nearest dollar. For
bills that are not the same, write down the average. Be careful
not to guess here, but rather find the amounts in your check
register for most of them, if not all, and add them together and
divide by 12. This is especially critical for bills like PG&E,
where the summer months are much less than the winter months (for
us anyway) because we donít have air conditioning.
round up, not down. Donít forget anything. I mean even
the yearly vet bill. Everything you spend money on should be here
Ė except possibly personal items, but Iíll get into that in a
total the monthly column figures up. Now you have the total amount
you need to deposit into your checking acct every month to always
have enough to pay your bills with. When the quarterly or semi
annual insurance bill comes in for $300-500, no sweat, youíve
been putting money aside every month, so the money is already in
your checking account to pay for it.
need to be very disciplined every paycheck and put in what you are
suppose to without fail or you will not be able to pay your bills
easily every month. Why cause your self stress, just do it.
so letís look at some variables.
youíve never lived on your own, you need to add up all the bills
you know and ask your friends or family members for the other
items. Get a few estimates and make your best guess. Have a
separate column for misc. and set money aside for things you
didnít know would come up. Make sure you will have plenty left
over each month before leaving your parents house so you donít
have to ask for money or get into debt to pay your bills.
live with your wife, 2 kids and have enough money to pay your
bills, but you argue over who spends what on non-essentials. Ok
hereís where my personal strategy comes in. My husband and I
keep a common checking account to pay our bills with.
Coincidently, we have always made about the same amount per month,
so we just split the bills 50/50. We each get paid twice per
month, so we divide the total monthly figure from above by 4, and
thatís what we each need to deposit into the checking account to
have the money to pay our bills. Any additional money we make is
our personal spending money that we keep in a separate acct. Each
person can spend whatever they want, on anything they want,
anytime they want and the other person has no say in the matter
Ė argument avoided. When weíve both had plenty of extra,
money, we decided to add some things to the monthly pot that we
each put into. These are things like savings, IRA and vacation
If you donít make similar monthly salaries, then you will need to
decide what percentage to split here to divide the above total
monthly expense. Try to be fair, speak softly and not get into
an argument. If you canít come up with a fair solution right
away, wait a bit and hopefully the other person will come around
and realize they will have ďxĒ amount extra per week, while
you will have nothing. If they still wonít budge, then Iíll
make some extra
money. Donít despair.
if you donít have enough to pay your bills, whether single or
married? Then you will need to do at least one of four things:
your expenses as much as possible, see my article 15 Tips
to Reduce Your Debt
payment options from your creditors (read my article on that too)
a Government loan or grant (read my article)
to a credit counselor or debt consolidation specialist (read my
you have a monthly amount you can afford, stick to your budget so
you donít have trouble paying the bills and keep out of further