How Often Do You Update Your Budget?

The most important action that helped me achieve financial freedom was preparing an INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO budget.

The simple act of sitting down with my bride and planning our spending for the upcoming month is what allowed us to become debt-free in just 14 months and has allowed us to fund tons of dreams like giving a ton of money away and saving money for college, retirement, and vacations.

Every single time that we sit down with an individual or couple in a financial counseling appointment, we work with them to prepare a budget.   For most, it is the first time in their lives that they have planned their spending out to the very last dollar.   When I meet with many of the counselees a few months later, I discover that they have failed to prepare another budget since the time that they left our last meeting   – and, guess what, they have not been able to maximize their money.

It makes me want to ask the AWESOME readers of these two questions:

  1. How often do you prepare/update your spending plan?
  2. How well is your plan working?

Let the conversation begin!

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  1. Leo Gallant on July 27, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Still every month for us as well as a quick overview each Sat morning! Life is sometimes a moving target, so updating keeps going in the right direction. For example, because I get paid every 2 weeks, July happened to be one of those 3 paycheck months, so we made sure we put that “extra” cash to replenish some funds (recently had to replace 2 car batteries as well as home A/C repairs).

    Also, working our budget consistently has become a great communication time for my wife and I as we discuss and refine goals for the money God has entrusted to us. And man, what a difference from how it used to be trying to talk about money!

    Thanks, and God bless!


  2. Ian Goos on July 27, 2010 at 5:41 am

    I absolutely agree with you that the INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO budget is the most important piece.

    I update my budget every time my income changes or my bill demands change (power bill especially this summer).

    Because I have so many elements either automated or cash based, I typically have to touch it up once every other month. Other than that, it just works. Praise God it just works too!

  3. Jon Smock on July 27, 2010 at 7:30 am

    We do the same as Ian, where we only adjust it when something changes in our lives. That probably ends up being every few months. Otherwise, we have everything in it’s place, and we stick to it like nobody’s business.

    It’s working! And, every few months I have someone ask me about what we do, and I get to help THEM budget! Yesss!

  4. SavingFreak on July 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    We update our budget every month and then if I can find an amazing deal on groceries or some other budget item we might make changes during the month.

  5. Daphne C. on July 27, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I (and now it’s looking more like “we” 🙂 work on the budget every month, usually at the end of the previous month or before the first paycheck. During the month, I like to list expenses that I know are coming up so that I don’t forget to put them in the new budget. Another thing I like to do is go through the previous month’s budget and update it with the actual costs of things I had estimated.

    We’ve had some trouble sticking to the budget these past two months, especially because our emergency savings turned into a slumps fund that was quickly drained, but God is good and we’re working through it. Thanks for all the great tips, Joe!

  6. Tom Carpenter on July 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I also update my budget every month. For the most part the normal expenses stay the same, but they might move around from the first to the second paycheck.

    Updating every month also allows me to work in those extra expenses that take place, like needing to pay to renew my passport – something that takes place once every 10 years. Having that flexibility allowed me to absorb the cost into my budget and not take it out of savings.

    Plus…I love the challenge each month of seeing where I can find a few extra dollars to put towards paying off those stupid school loans. Thanks for all your help Joe!

  7. girl lessk on July 29, 2010 at 8:33 am

    I don’t really budget, just trying to spend as less as possible.

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