Have you ever written a budget just to throw it away a few days in because something unexpected came up? You may have even uttered the words “Oh, I’ll start over next month.” I know I can’t be the only one that does this!
To be perfectly honest, our family got into this bad habit when we first started budgeting. As soon as something went wrong (because something always comes up), we would throw in the towel and vow to do better next month. The problem? Then we’d overspend and revert back to our old habits. This was keeping us from reaching our financial goals sooner.
It only took a few months of repeatedly “starting over” that we realized we were setting ourselves up for failure. At that moment, I realized that our budget would never be perfect. And guess what! That’s totally okay.
Budgeting is less about the math and more about your flexibility and willingness to stick with it! So instead of starting over the next month, we starting writing mini-budgets!
Mini-budgets have saved our family’s finances month after month. They give me peace of mind and force me to truly know what’s going on with my finances.
What is a mini-budget?
A regular budget is a budget that you make from one payday to the next. So if you get paid on Friday, you’ll make a budget from Friday until your next check comes in. But what if your budget doesn’t go as planned? What if there is an unexpected doctor’s visit? Or you overspend on a Target shopping trip? That’s where mini-budgets come in! A mini-budget is a smaller budget where you budget from today until your payday, no matter how long it is.
For instance, my husband and I get paid once a month, on the same day. That’s a long time to stick to a budget. A LOT can happen in a month! The chances of our budget perfectly matching what we anticipated is not great. In the past, I’d throw out the budget as soon as we went over in a certain category. I felt like a failure, so I’d toss it out. However, I learned that instead of throwing away the entire budget, I would just rewrite a completely new mini-budget.
How to write a mini-budget
- Write down the current balance in your checking account.
- Determine how many days you have left before you get paid again. This will be how long your mini-budget will last.
- List out your expenses or fill in your budget sheet. Make sure to include any bills that are currently on auto-draft and will come out before your next payday.
- Post your budget where you can see it daily. Go back and reference it to make sure you are on track! If not, write another mini-budget!
Mini-budget in action
The benefits of a mini-budget
Mini-budgets are amazing because not only do they hold you accountable for your finances, but they allow you to be flexible with your finances. No one is perfect and no budget is perfect. Every budget will need to be tweaked some and that’s okay! Writing a mini-budget helps you set yourself up for success. You will be more aware of where you stand financially and how to continue growing closer to your money goals!
Need help with your budget?
If you need help getting started with a budget, then you have to check out my FREE Budgeting Basics Email Course! Not only will you receive 14 pages of free printables (including my amazing cash envelopes), but I’ll also give you information on how to make budgeting work for you! The best part is that it’s completely free! Sign up below!
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