Has anyone ever successfully budgeted? What’s the hardest part for you and how did you overcome it?

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What do you mean successfully budgeted? You make it sound like some Herculean task. You should know how much money is coming in and figure out how much you can spend. You can do it!

likehelpful

No, no one has ever successfully budgeted in all of human history.

likeuplifting

You’re a software engineer. No need to budget, just ball out

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YouTube... best thing ever. I learned how to cook dishes, now I don’t spend money on eating out. I don’t go out drinking either, I buy all of the alcohol I need to and take it home.
I invite *vaccinated* friends over to hang out if anything.
I save so much money by doing this!

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There’s a lot of apps that keep track of how much you’re spending or making.

If you’re saving for something. Make a plan. Stick to the plan. Profit.

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Change the mindset from saving to spending. Set money aside in the envelope method or whatever works, and think about best ways to actually spend it. This makes budgeting fun and saving easy. You can't spend more or borrow, but you can roll over. This allows you to wait, save and splurge occasionally on bigger things. But secretly it makes it budget and save for something special instead of wasting on little unfulfilling things.

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My basic approach from when i was in my early 20s:

- look at all my reoccurring auto-payments (assuming everything is on autopay) and enter into spreadsheet. Label as necessary (housing, cellphone, car, cc, loans) or nice to have (streaming, gym, etc).
- take my paycheck post tax and determine annual net
- decide how much $ each month needs to cover necessary vs nice to have. See what is left over. Decide on amount to save, amount to budget for groceries, gas, going out. Decide what nice to haves need to go.

- Determine monthly spend on necessary items. Open a “bill” account and set up auto pay / direct deposit with that amount (initial goal was to build 3 months reserve back then). Usually factor in a % over to ensure I’m covered for anything unexpected/ build reserves. Set it and forget it. Check to make sure DD / payments are clearing occasionally.

- DD into saving account with whatever amount decided on (usually use my bill account tbh. No debit card / access so my brain treats that money like it doesn’t exist)

- nice to haves come out of my spending account. Thanks to spreadsheet, i know what i have to play with each pay check to keep that account funded. If the balance gets too high i transfer to my other account.

It makes it mindless for me. I’ve been doing the same basic thing every year in Jan/Feb for the last 15 years

helpful

Most people get into budgets and focus on the small rocks. Don’t spend a lot of mental energy trying to save $20/week when there are bigger changes like finding a new apartment or consolidating loans that could save hundreds of dollars bet month.

Set out your big priorities like savings, debt retirement, and donations. Those should be non-negotiable items that get top priority. Then think about larger living expenses like housing, transportation, and insurance. If all the other stuff is covered then it’s not that big a deal if you go out or cook at home assuming you have the money.

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I budget against a total number, and that number is derived against a rolling 12 of normal spending, so I know I'll end the month net positive but I'm not robbing Peter to pay Paul.

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