Welcome to my newest series! The Budget Diaries pays homage to some of my favorite blog post series, the Money Diaries of Refinery29 and Cosmopolitan Magazine. In this series, I’ll be interviewing fellow bloggers about their budgeting habits, giving us a small peek into their financial lives.
Hi, thanks for agreeing to this interview! Will you tell us a bit about yourself?
Donna: I’m a married 52 yo, with 2 grown kids – 1 still lives with us.
Bekah: I am a stay at home mom to an amazing 2-year-old girl. I am also a blogger, a full-time online college student, and I work at home taking care of my mom. My family enjoys boating, camping, and spending our days at the lake.
Do you keep a consistent budget? How did you start budgeting?
Donna: YES, we do. We started after attending a live Dave Ramsey event about 7 -8 years ago.
Bekah: Yes, we keep a consistent budget, my boyfriend is a mechanic so he has a lot of tool payments that come out on top of regular payments like truck payment, car insurance, etc… Because of that, it is imperative for us to keep track of when it all is due so we don’t miss anything. I started budgeting when I was a child, I love to be organized so if I was given a bigger amount of money for Christmas, I always had to write down how much I had, and where exactly it was going.
How much is your typical weekly budget?
Donna: We don’t budget by the week, but rather each paycheck we take out everything we need to pay bills, (much goes into what we call a holding account. so since we only pay for snowplowing once a year we take the cost and divide it by 12 and take that out of paycheck each month. It’s all tracked on an excel spreadsheet.
Bekah: I can’t say, as I just started having my own income, and before it was just my boyfriend’s money and I wasn’t aware of specific amounts, just which bills are due and when.
What’s a typical week of expenses for you?
Donna: Typically I would say everything, (bills, grocery, etc) $1500 a week, but that includes real estate taxes, cell phone bill etc. It’s truly everything.
Bekah: A typical week of expenses looks a little like this:
- About $50 to Mac Tools
- About $75 to Snap-on Tools
- A smaller amount to Matco Tools
- Anywhere from $40-70 for gas for the truck
- depending on which big bill is due that week, would depend on how much we put aside to pay off a credit card.
- also depending on which big bill is due that week depend on how much we use for groceries
What do you think is the hardest thing about budgeting?
Donna: The hardest part of doing it – is DOING IT. it takes an hour once a week to update the spreadsheet, move the funds into the proper accounts and pay any bills due that week.
Bekah: I think the hardest thing about budgeting for me is finding time to sit down to actually make the budget.
What advice can you give to anyone who’s interested in budgeting?
Donna: Do it. you will really be able to see where your money goes and what you are spending it on. after a few weeks, you start to see you have more money because you are paying closer attention to where it goes.
Bekah: I would say, definitely start budgeting! I don’t really understand how people don’t budget, because once you have more than one thing coming out a week, it can get very confusing. And I am a person who loves to be organized so I have to have everything laid out in front of me. I think if I didn’t, I would be missing. Payments and spending too much money in certain places. I think budgeting is extremely important. I would say, if you aren’t already, start!
Anything to say to our dear readers?
Donna: One thing my husband and I did was we each took a certain amount of cash each week for spending. 20-40 dollars. If didn’t spend it, we tucked it away in our wallets and then we got the 20-40 for the next week. One day, we were driving around doing errands and asked, “What do you want to do for lunch”? We both said “I have no money let’s go home and have a tuna sandwich”. 2 minutes later I asked, “How much do you have on you?” Together we had over $1700 in cash on us – but we had no money! LOL that what we called “secret staff” could be used for items we wanted or saved for something big we found we would like.
Bekah: I would say, once you have started budgeting and find you have a little extra money, I would start a savings account, retirement fund, and/or emergency fund! If not all, then at least one!
Thank you so much and may you always lead a financially free life!
Donna: We have not had a car payment in 7 years, and just paid off our house! We are just realizing we are debt free!
Bekah: Thanks for the opportunity!
Follow Donna Martorano at Donna Unbound, a lifestyle and travel blog:
Follow Bekah Osher at Little Messy Hands, a lifestyle blog for mothers:
If you want to check out the other posts in this series, take a look at this link right here.
Have something to share? If you’d like to be a part of this series, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’m looking forward to having you here!