Basic Budget Planning & Tips

Budgeting is always important when planning your finances. Yes, you may reach a point where your income grows to allow more wiggle room within your budget. But, still, everyone should have a general idea of how their inflows and outflows compare from year to year, month to month, or even week to week.

Having a clearly planned and set budget can help eliminate stresses that creep in when finances are tight. This is even more true when there are unplanned expenses that occur. Knowing where you stand financially, and where you’re able to be flexible, will go a long way in helping you stay in control of yourself and your finances.

Experience Is A Harsh Teacher

In our early days, our finances took immense hits on a regular basis. Due to some ignorant decisions on our part, we endured a home foreclosure, and a few property repossessions. Those were some painful times. Those were also some very vital learning times too.

We learned which one of us was the spender, and which was the saver. My husband is a wonderful and very talented man. But, in those days, budgeting was not his strong point. Lol! So, shortly thereafter I, “the saver”, took over the majority of the finances. This included drawing up a budget to ensure the bills were paid and personal needs were met.

At the time we literally lived week to week, penny to penny. And if we had even the smallest financial hiccup it was felt for weeks. Weeks. That’s a long time to recover from wrecked finances. But, eventually, we would recover if we stuck to our original budget.

The Extreme of Basic Budgets

My budget was extremely simple. It was set up basically in order of bill due dates throughout the month. From our steady paychecks, I knew what our weekly income was. I simply had to divvy up the bills to weekly totals to pay. Grocery, gas, and a small allowance were also listed as bills. (For your own budget, be sure to add any category expected during any given week.)

Therefore, monthly, I would literally sit down and look at the dates of the paychecks expected (every Friday for us). Put those dates on paper, with spacing to allow me to add bills to pay under each week’s date. Then put each bill on the date that would allow for the quickest payment. In rough times after one of those so-called financial hiccups, a bill would slide to the latest date allowable. Hopefully, that would still be prior to the due date, but absolutely before the cutoff or cancellation date.

Well, hopefully, before the cutoff or cancellation date. Although, that wasn’t always avoided either. Hence, the aforementioned financial hiccups. Did I mention those were some rough times? Definitely. Definitely some rough times were experienced.


It’s important to note that this was before “auto-payments” were a “thing”. If you wanted to pay a bill, then you had to remember to do it. You had to take the physical action to write and mail the check, or physically go and pay the bill in person.

With that being said, and as common as they are today, I still do not like auto-payments. I prefer to know absolutely for sure there is money in my account before I authorize a withdrawal from my bank account. I recommend manual payment of your bills when your finances are tight. It’s the best way to prevent overdraft issues.

Sadly, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase “my auto-payment hit my account when my funds were too low”, or something similar along those lines. There are so many people that this happens to that it isn’t even funny. So many preventable “hiccups” going on. Smh… So, prevention is the name of the game here. Pay your bills yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

Bank Accounts

My best advice on bank accounts is to have one account set up to strictly pay bills with. Once upon a time, we only had one bank checking account that serviced all our needs. Well, that went well until our “everyday expenditures” bit into our “bill money” and our house payment bounced. Yep, a life “extra” via the ATM machine threatened our home ownership.

Therefore, to prevent that from happening again we opened a second checking account solely for the purpose of paying bills by check. No ATM cards were connected to that account. And still aren’t to this day. I highly recommend having a designated bill account if you have trouble separating your bill money from your other funds.

And those were the basic budgeting strategies I used to slowly crawl us out of our week to week, penny to penny financial existence.

What about you? What are your basic budgeting tips???


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