With this No Spend May in full swing, Ryan and I are also taking the time to develop a budget. Now I've set up "budgets" in the past, but after doing some research, I now realize I have never truly set up a budget. After the suggestion from a friend on FB to try the website You Need a Budget, I did.
So far so good. Ryan and I talked tonight and agreed about how much money we want to put in some of the different categories. The goal is for us to allocate every penny that is coming in to its own category. We have never done that. I also like that we will also leave some wiggle room like "fun money." Then we can still buy things we simply want, and we won't need to feel guilty. It is still hard to decide how much money to put in the clothing category. Or the vacation category? What do other people do?
Our major goal I made for this year is to have our van paid off by the end of the year. Then we will move on to Ryan's last student loan. Luckily we are paid ahead on that until January of 2019, so we stopped payments on that to pay extra on the van. Yes, we are Dave Ramsey-ing the crap out of this :) Then once the van is paid off we will move onto the student loan...then the house. We are very lucky that those are the only debts we really have. Back to the budget. I know that properly budgeting our money will get us closer to reaching that goal of being completely debt free. That will be a great day! So I am very open to any budget advice that anyone has :)
The last thing I wanted to mention was gift cards. I don't think people realize how many unused gift cards they have. I decided to take inventory of all of our gift cards and see what we had. I was amazed! I think so many times we forget to use the gift cards, and then we don't think anything about it because we will use it "next time." Then we forget next time. No more. I cleaned out my purse, and I put all of our gift cards in one pocket. Now they will all be in the same spot and will be used :) I also decided that using gift cards in May doesn't count! Eating out for free is good. When was the last time you looked at how many gift cards you have? Might want to do that. Saving money is cool!