4 Savvy Ways to Budget Your Bucks

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When your income and expenses are nearly the same, it’s time to create a budget. Want to purchase something that you couldn’t afford unless you charged it on a credit card? Budgeting would be the answer. Money is a personal thing, so there’s not a one-budget-fits-all solution for those looking to make a plan. Discover four options for budgeting your bucks and be on your way to taking better control of your money.

1. Reverse Budgeting

Reverse budgeting can be appealing to anyone who just wants to save money and isn’t too concerned about gaining insight into their spending habits. The system asks you to automatically transfer a certain amount of money to savings each month, and whatever is left over is yours to spend however you choose.

2. Envelope Budgeting

Cash is king when it comes to envelope budgeting. Set spending goals for various categories and label envelopes accordingly. Then, distribute your budgeted amounts into the corresponding envelopes. If your spending in one area exceeds the amount you allocated for it, the funds must be taken from another envelope (not your bank account) to keep your overall spending in check.

3. Down to the Dollar

Individuals looking to whip their budgets into shape with a regimented system might choose to track their spending down to the dollar. The system involves recording every expense with costs rounded to the nearest dollar, and some people like it because it gives extreme visibility to areas of overspending. Identifying the spending holes opens up the opportunity to fixing them.

4. Down to the Cent

It’s a time-consuming type of budgeting, but it can be helpful for those who need to really get in touch with their spending. The motivation behind tracking all of your expenditures down to the cent is the same as tracking down to the dollar, but it’s even more precise in revealing the areas for potential improvement.

  • http://twitter.com/EmptyPocketGrad EmptyPocketGrad

    I use mint.com for my budgeting but one way I keep myself saving instead of spending is basically a virtual version of the envelope budgeting above. I have one high interest savings account that is not linked to mint.nnAt first it was a technical glitch but I kept it that way so I could keep the money our sight and our of mind.

  • Anonymous

    I budget down to the dollar and always round up — then I end up with extra cents! Sense. Cents.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

    • Lynda Wilkerson

      tWould like copy o f this letter to show my husband.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • Faithhopelove20

    My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in January. We have a cash envelope system and go over our budget on the first of every month – go to the bank and take out the cash and then divide it among the envelopes. It is amazing how much it has changed our spending habits and our financial lives. We have an ‘allowance’ for each of us as well as an ‘entertainment’ budget to share – so we can still splurge on little things without it affecting our savings goals. I was skeptical at first, because I was always so careful and checked out accounts online daily (I also use mint.com) – but I found the cash envelope system actually works BETTER than anything online. It forces us to take a painful hard look at what we are spending and how much. Every dollar counts when it’s cash.

  • http://liberatinggrace.blogspot.com/ Allie Davis

    I’m a fan of reverse budgeting. I didn’t know that it had a name. Fortunately my husband and I tend to value our money a lot so we naturally underspend anyway. If you think through every financial decision, you can be successful without the time consuming specifics of a detailed budget.