There needs to be a consistent check-in with your budget: “What did I/we do right? Where did we overspend? How are we going to address the overspending? Is this overspending a bad habit, or is the funded amount for this budget category unrealistic? Have we taken any steps towards our goals?” These questions should be addressed during budget meetings.
For awhile, your budget meeting might have happen every paycheck, but I STRONGLY urge you to get off the paycheck to paycheck cycle as soon as you can. There is a huge sense of freedom and relief when you have one month’s income as a buffer.
Our Budget Meeting Rules:
1. Be consistent. We regularly budget at the end of the month, so we can tell that money what to do the following month. For example, at the end of October, we will budget every single dollar we made, and assign it to a budget category for the month of November.
2. Be present. Ain’t nobody got time for distractions, especially when you are making big decisions for your family. Plan on at least 30 min. to an hour to reconcile everything, and budget for the next month. I would also recommend not conducting a budget meeting when you are hangry and tired. That’s no fun at all!
3. Be respectful. Yes, you can disagree, respectfully. If this happens, I recommend taking some time away, and reconvening in a few hours or the following day.
4. Be purposeful. Every budget decision we make is in alignment with our family values. It’s important to feel like you are still able to do things that are important to your family, even when you are paying off debt. For example, if traveling is important to you, schedule some roadtrips, or camping trips; these trips don’t need to be obsolete because you are paying off debt.
5. Have fun! It can be difficult at the beginning when everything is new. I recommend regularly budgeting fun money for yourself, or date nights, or family dates, or all 3! Some other ideas to make budget meeting fun: have fun snacks, play some good music, conduct budget meeting in a pretty location, or have your favorite beverage! Whatever it takes for you to be an optimistic you, do it! #debtfreecollective