Budgeting does not have to be so hard
Budgeting is hard, period. I know this because I've used multiple apps, and spreadsheet so that I can get my life together. Unfortunately I've never really stuck to them except for You Need A Budget (more on this another time). It wasn't up until recently did I establish a new flow - separate and spend wisely.
Separate and Spend? Yes - you separate your money from the standard monthly payments like bills and obligations from your fun money or slightly variable costs. Now this is best for people who likely do not own a home, because you never really know what's going to break that month. Probably not best for people with children, as we don't know if little Billy might get a nasty flu :(. So what audience does that leave us with? Likely young, millennial, childless individuals, like me.
A loose budget focuses on the separation of standard from the not so standard. Items that fit in the standard category are:
- Rent + Rough Utilities
- Car Payment
- Student Loan Payments
- Credit Card Payments
- Mandatory Savings
- Automatic Subscriptions
Once you calculate the total cost of the above, whatever is remaining should be moved to your not so standard list:
As a result, you're keeping the fun from the serious stuff. My favorite way of doing this is utilizing automatic direct deposits from work to separate cash between two checking account. Chase, where all my primary bills are linked to, and Charles Schwab, where I use for personal spending.
I love my Charles Schwab checking account because it has a zero cost maintenance fee, and can be treated as an investment account if you do decide that you would like to start trading stocks or bonds. Charles Schwab is an investment company which means that branches are few. It also means that you cannot go to a branch to withdraw money, with that said Charles Schwab waives ATM fees, and international fees. So this is a great option for travel, just let them know that you plan to travel so they do not lock your card.