Creating a Budget

Budgets can be intimidating. You may think you need to be great at math, or know how to use a spreadsheet. Or you may fear, as Mary often hears, that budgets are too restrictive and will prevent you from living your dream. Mary says none of those things are necessarily true.

Creating a budget can be done on a piece of paper with a pencil and grade school knowledge of addition and subtraction. And unlike in school, you always get to use a calculator! As far as being restrictive, Mary sees it differently; budgets empower you to live the life you want by forcing you to prioritize.

The basic function of a budget is to help you manage the money you have. First, you take stock of what is coming in, and then you divvy it up (hopefully with a little left over). Put the things that matter the most to you first -- the stuff you don't want to give up, or can't give up (such as your mortgage).

Often we put the fun stuff at the end of a budget, Mary say if something is truly important to you, put it first. You can add the necessities next and then everything else.

Put your estimate in month expenses and the actual amount in once you know it. If the difference in the amount is over or under your estimate, it will help you make a better estimate next time!

Click here for an example of how the Lafferty's built a budget. If you would like a budget sheet that you can fill in and customize for each month, email us at and we'll send it to you.

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