Duhamel Budget Guide_2013 1

Budgeting 101

Let’s face it, when you get married in college, YOU’RE BROKE. What no one ever told me was when you are married in the real world with a “big girl job”… you’re still broke. It’s a vicious cycle. You make more you spend more.

Before Zack and I got married, someone suggested we go see a financial adviser and it may be the greatest decision we’ve ever made for our marriage…other than the no eating in bed rule. (which I’ve broken only once, sorry Zack)

Duhamel Budget Guide_2013 1

SO, I thought I’d share some of our budgeting tips! First, it’s important to know:

1. We do the crazy cash/envelope system (modified version) where we take out a certain amount of cash every 2 weeks to pay for things like eating out, groceries, spending money, etc. Once the envelope is empty… no more spending in that category. (You will see those items in green on the spreadsheet)

2. We put money back each month towards certain things that may only happen once a year, like Christmas! We put back $20/month that will go towards buying Christmas gifts at the end of the year, that way we don’t get even brokER. We also do this for like car tags, hair cuts, anticipated medical expenses, etc. (You will see those items in pink on the spreadsheet)

3. Our number 1 goal with finances is to stay out of debt, and I can honestly say we have been blessed enough to do so for the first 24 years of our lives! We have 2 exceptions to the NO DEBT rule: home loans + student loans, which we are currently in the process of taking out student loans for the 1st time in our lives! (thanks to our parents for always spoiling us)


1. [MAKE A SPREADSHEET] Here is a simple budget spreadsheet that we use (remember green lines represent $$$ taken out monthly and pay “cash” for + pink items are transferred to a “put-back” account… similar to savings)

Monthly budget Spreadsheet_example

If you would like this spreadsheet to fill out your own financial info, contact me!

2. [MONTHLY CHECKLIST] Each month Zack and I do a little RE-GROUP to go through our finances. Here is an image of a couple of sheets I made for our financial binder.

Duhamel Budget Guide_2013 2

Duhamel Budget Guide_2013

3. [BE TRUE TO YOU] Make sure your budget reflects your values. You will see things like Tithing and Gifts in our budget because that is important to ZACK + I.


4. [SET GOALS] Set financial goals for yourself and as you make your budget, ask yourself “is this accomplishing my goal to….” fill in the blank. For example, Zack and I want to be DEBT FREE so we have cut back A LOT on extra spending. Like when we spent an entire day taking apart our vacuum to fix it so we didn’t have to buy a new one (above). We even sold his car this past weekend and are currently sharing… it’s called living within your means. (AKA crazy)

Here are a FEW great links to help you budget!

FREEDOM 5:ONE the financial adviser we went to before we got married 

DAVE RAMSEY the crazy guy on the radio

MINT.COM free, simple + easy

CNN to show you whats the NORM

Zack and I love this kind of stuff so PLEASE feel free to contact me if you have ANY questions! I would also love to share any files I have with you if there is something you could use to help get on track!

Let the DIY projects begin!!

Love, Ashli

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7 thoughts on “Budgeting 101

  1. Jessica, I completely agree! It was hand-down the greatest thing we did to prepare for marriage. Financial decisions have been SUPER easy because we have a plan and we stick to it (thanks to Freedom 5:one)

  2. Grant says:

    Yes we are. We have modified it a bit so we can get air miles but we track everything we spend and use cash just the same. Win win you just have to stay on top of it.

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