Ultimate Budget Series: Introduction

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Ultimate Budget SeriesI have been on a wicked sweet budget for about 5 years now, and have helped quite a few others get on one as well. Over the years, our budget has flexed and changed with our life stages, and has grown into a fully mature budget, with savings buckets, seasonal budgeted categories, and filters to see how we do in each category. It’s been a fun ride, and it’s really cool to look back at my old “budgets” from back when I was “tracking” my income and watching my money disappear. After starting to put together budgets for others, I have really started to see some trends in how certain categories are handled, and have been able to save people some serious cash but really diving deep into certain ones. So I’ve decided to put together the Ultimate Budget Series to do just that; A deep dive into each budget category, dedicating an entire post to each category in your budget!

How Will It Work?

Since there are at least 30 budget categories that I will be going through, I wanted to set up some common criteria for analysis and commentary so that each post has a bit of structure to it. I mean, yes, I could rant for pages and pages on how to buy a used car, but that wouldn’t do anyone any good. So here’s how I’m going to break it down:

Category Description. Most categories are pretty self-explanatory, but I want to break it down into a simple description so we know what we ARE talking about, and what we’re NOT talking about.

How Much You Should Budget? There are tons of “percentage” budgets out there that have you plug in your income and it automatically splits it out into each category based on a pre-defined percentage. I get the idea and all, but I’m more of a hard numbers guy. Just like I’m no so much into theory on how a person might save money, I like to spell out how to save money with real numbers! I’m going to tell you how much you should budget for each category, based on a married couple with two kids. You can add and subtract based on life circumstance.

Common Ways People Blow This Category. There are common hang-ups in every budget category. Whether it’s listening to too much advertising, being lazy, or just not knowing any better, I would venture to say that 99% of the budgets I come across are wasting hundreds of dollars per month. I’m going to show you the most common ways that you could be losing money in each category.

Best Ways To Save Money. Now that I’ve gotten you all depressed exposing all the holes in your budget, let’s bust out the mud and paint and PATCH THOSE BAD BOYS! You can check out my How To Save Money section for a few tips, but each category is going to have its own list of awesome ways to ROCK THE BUDGET! There are tons and tons of ways to save cash, enough so, that thousands of people write about them on blogs just like this one in hopes to help a few people out. I’ll write down the most practical and valuable ways for each category here.

Whatever Else I Feel Like Writing. Maybe I’ll write something more, maybe I won’t! I’m going to leave this section for any extras that spill out of my brain.

When Can We Expect Updates?

Whenever I feel like it, gosh! (said in my best Napoleon Dynamite voice). No, but seriously, it may not be on a regular schedule. I hope to post once a week, but it may be more or less. It will be a regular series here, and who knows, it may never end!

How Can The Readers Help?

I’m going to put together the initial master list of categories, and if there’s something you think should be in there, LET ME KNOW! I want to stick to common categories, and not stuff like “my pencil shaving collection”. But if I’ve missed something, definitely give me a shout out.

Comments: What do you think? Are you “OMG JUSTIN BIEBER IS AT THE SAME SAFEWAY AS ME!!!” excited for this?! I know I am. I hope you stick around and enjoy the budgeting goodness that is about to happen!

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites. 
Heโ€™s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

24 thoughts on “Ultimate Budget Series: Introduction”

    • Lawl! Yes, the weed category is a MUST! ๐Ÿ™‚

      And one of the biggest reasons for this is that I have created budgets for others, but now I want to break down HOW to make that budget work, breaking it down by category. It’s nice to have a plan, but step by step execution is even BETTER! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I’m excited to see what you have to say with this series! Fun!

    I have an ask…childcare. Please take a serious approach on that one. A lot of times, the immediate answer is “have mom stay home”. I’m sick of that! Example, Dave Ramsey says the personal category should be x%, but daycare blows the number out of the water. When you look at that topic, treat it as if the initial analysis about whether it makes sense has already been done!

    Rant over…can you tell I work??!!

  2. Well first and foremost if I ever saw JB at Safeway I’d probably punch him in the mouth. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I AM excited to see how you do your budget. It’s amazing what a living breathing thing that budget is. And how everyone has their own version tailored to their personality.

    • Lawl! This series will mimick my budget, but is more than just that. It’s from a few years of budgeting and budget coaching for others all rolled into one! I’ll give some range in each category, but I have some guidelines that EVERYONE should stick to ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. AH!!! I’m SO excited about this! I love budgets but I fear my budget right now is mostly a “tracking” system rather than a budget…hmmm. I’m so excited to learn more about budgeting and of course saving money!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That’s where I used to be. I was on a “budget” for a year before I had my “AH HA!” moment after reading “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. I hope I can inspire the same with this series ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I am really looking forward to this. Please be sure to add something for medical costs. I find a lot of budgets cover insurance but don’t have any buckets for deductibles, medicine or glasses.


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