The Diary of a Budgeter – Day 21

Bobbi Olson Articles, The Diary of a Budgeter


Today, Scott was troubleshooting a client through some technical issues with their video recording setup. Facing a fast-approaching deadline, the client was stressed and unable to focus on the task at hand. But, as always, Scott was able to stay calm for the client and lead them through the process step by step to figure out what was wrong. As is usually the case, it was a simple fix – so simple the client had scoffed at the suggestion, in the beginning.

It made me think about how much we stress over money and often overlook simple fixes, in favor of complicating the problem, and our lives.

Scott is a huge believer in starting with the simple and obvious, then moving to the bigger, more complicated possibilities. Nine times out of ten, he’s right – they are simple and obvious! This saves everyone involved a lot of time and heartache. Funny part is, they’re usually shocked at how simple and obvious the answer is and admit they never would have considered it.

I’m lucky my husband is such a good! (That’s Keep It Simple, Stupid!) Ironically, he’s the one who got me started on my budgeting journey – even though he didn’t realize it.

When we got married, I was financially scattered – never paid my bills on time and didn’t know how to balance a checkbook, so I was constantly overdrawn! He had two rules:

1. When a bill comes in the mail, open it right away to find the due date. Write the due date on the envelope and put it on the left-hand corner of the dresser, in due date order with the rest. When payday comes, grab all the bills due between that date and the date of our next paycheck and pay them!

2. Write down every transaction in the check register and do the math to keep a running tally of what’s left. BONUS: Round up to the nearest dollar – this makes the math easier and gives us a cushion in case we forget to write something down!

Starting with only these two rules changed my financial life. I’d been constantly overdrawn and late paying my bills for years. Once I started using these two rules, my late payments and overdraft fees were a thing of the past!

Sure, my budget’s a bit more complicated now, but it’s by design. I added in other rules and tools, one by one, as I learned more and was able to absorb the importance and system for making it all work.

Like anything else, it will take time to perfect your budget and use it to its fullest potential. No problem! Start small, with one task and get it down to a science – then add another. This will keep you motivated and help you avoid budget burnout.

Not sure where to start? Try something simple, like tracking your expenses. This alone will show you where your money is going and keep you from overspending.

Simple, easy and you know exactly where you stand!