My wife follows Jordan Page, who is a blogger and YouTuber. She has this unique idea for budgeting that my wife and I are about to begin our third week trying. Jordan calls this budgeting method the Simplest Budgeting Method Ever.
An Overview of the Budget…
Here is how the concept of Jordan’s simplest budgeting method works. First, create a budget for groceries and a budget for “other” expenses by taking an envelope and creating two columns. Next, you create a new row for each week of the month. It looks a little something like this:
With each expense, you write in the name of the place of purchase and you store the receipt in the envelope. Finally, you deduct the expense from what is left in that week’s budget. By storing the receipts in the envelope, you create an easy way to store and save receipts; therefore, in the event that you need to return an item, you have 12 (one for each month) neatly organized envelopes to find your receipts.
The Grocery Budget
For the grocery budget, Jordan suggests $100/person per month. So, for a family of four, the monthly budget would be $400 and the weekly budget would be $100. $100 for the week might scare a few people – how do you feed a family of four on $100?
Meal Planning. This is an area my wife and I have been getting better at – mostly my wife. My wife is actually reading a meal planning book next to me right now titled The Everything Meals on a Budget Cookbook: High-flavor, low-cost meals your family will love.
Other items included in the grocery budget include diapers for a baby, or any other essential item that is needed week in and week out: toothpaste, deodorant, paper towels, etc.
The Other Budget
This budget covers all of your non-essentials or wants. For example, you need to pay for a haircut, grab your morning Starbucks, or purchase a couple of beers while out with some friends.
These small expenses are normally budget killers. So pay extra close attention to these “other” expenses and monitor them to accurately keep track of your spending. Jordan recommends $100/week for this budget. My wife and I each have an “other” budget that we keep – $100/each per week.
I am in charge of entertainment and I have my own “other” budget. That is another thing that I really like about this budgeting system. We have all of our fixed costs that come out automatically each month: mortgage, utility, insurance, etc. And now we have four budgets that my wife and I split up.
I’ve been doing fantastic so far on the budgets I am responsible for.
The entertainment budget is used for date nights, which we need to do a better job of getting out. Also, any family events we do I bucket under our entertainment budget. My “other” budget is the same as described above – any non-essential items that I purchase I categorize under my “other” budget.
Do not – carry over your budget over to the next week. For example, if you exceed your grocery budget for the week, do not take it away from the following week’s budget. Instead, take the money away from this week’s “other” budget.
The Simplest Budgeting Method Ever. That’s it and that’s all.
For me, I enjoy using this method. I don’t think I could successfully implement the normal envelope method where you stick money into envelopes that are categorized for different budgets. Mainly, I just don’t like carrying cash. This simplest budgeting method proves just as effective because you are writing down every single expense that you make and deducting that expense from your weekly budget.
I am going on week three and I have cut my spending quite a bit. I’ve been pretty frugal over the last two years, but last week, I only spent $84 out of my $100 for entertainment, which included $40 for a babysitter so my wife and I could go out for happy hour!
Total estimated monthly savings
After running some quick numbers, this new budgeting method should save us around $500/month. We are too early using the simplest budgeting method to determine if we are saving that much, but I’ll write a post in a few months to provide an update.
With any budget, you need to iterate and make it work for you. Our family grocery budget is for three, so we technically have $75/week that we can spend. Going to Costco and spending less than $75 proved to be a challenge, BUT it is something that we are working on. We increased our grocery budget to $100, which would still save us quite a bit compared to what we were spending on groceries each month. This budgeting method is simple and saves us a lot of time!
Also, my wife didn’t love writing on the envelope, so she keeps a note card in her envelope to write down all of the expenses that she has. I keep my envelope in the center console of my car right next to my pens.