Welcome to Budget Bootcamp

Week 1 | Day 1 | GB 101: Budget Bootcamp

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Welcome to Goodbudget 101: Budget Bootcamp! We’re so excited for you to start this new budgeting journey — one where you’ll create a budget that works for you. And along the way you’ll build habits and learn techniques that will help you live out your budget for the rest of your life.

Now, we’re all starting from different places financially, but we’re all working towards the same goal… making a budget that works. We believe you can make and *keep* a budget. This budget will be your guide to help you spend on what’s important, save for big expenses, and give generously.

Over the next 29 days you’ll receive bite-sized assignments that are practical, reflective and relational and they’re all designed to help you create your new budget utilizing the envelope budgeting method (if you don’t know what that is, learn about it on our website and on YouTube). You can expect to spend about 5 to 10 minutes doing most of the assignments. Every so often there’ll be a longer assignment that will take about 30 minutes. Let’s get started.

Today’s Assignment

  1. Make a plan for when and where you’d like to do these assignments. Will you spend time working on them at the kitchen table after the kids are in bed, or early in the morning over coffee before everyone gets up? Will you do the assignments for the week all in one day, or divvy them up throughout the week? Deciding this ahead of time will give you a better shot at completing these assignments.
  2. Comment below and let us know when and where you’re planning to do your homework.  Plus, share what you’re excited about learning in this course — and why.

Note for couples: If you share money with someone else, like your spouse, invite them to take this course with you.  By working together, you’ll be able to build a solid budget that actually works — for both of you.

That’s it for today! We look forward to seeing you in the next assignment.

Happy budgeting,
-The Goodbudget Team

P.S. If you’re struggling to get ahead because you’re living paycheck to paycheck, GB 30: Break the Cycle might be a good starting place for you. In that course, you’ll spend 30 days working to boost savings and begin building a one-month cushion so you can break the cycle for good. 

P.P.S. Or, if you’re currently experiencing a financial emergency, either from taking a pay cut, receiving a large medical bill, or something else, GB 911: Crash Course might be a better fit. There, you’ll learn how to make quick changes to your budget so that you can survive in the short term, adapt to your financial situation, and thrive down the road.

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1,825 thoughts on “Welcome to Budget Bootcamp”

  1. I’m newly divorced and married at 17 so have never technically budgeted (my ex controlled the money). At 55, this is a whole new and anxiety producing experience. Thanks for your help! (Will work at my desk before, during, or after work most likely)

  2. My husband and I have been married for 23 years. We combined 2 families into one. He had 2 boys and I had 2 boys. In our early years, it was hard to stay on top of the finances. We both worked and together we earned around $40,000 and $50,000 a year. I was a surgery nurse and my husband was a local truck driver both making about $10-$11 an hour with no overtime.

    The first 10 years money was always tight and there never seemed enough to go around. and YES truthfully sometimes our wants outweighed our needs. Then I decided to go back to school and finish my degree in Biology for nursing, I quit working at my stressful job in the hospital operating room and started working as a substitute teacher and loved it, where I lived at the time, in order to be a substitute teacher you had to have enough college hours to where you almost had an Associate’s degree, which since I had returned to college for a couple of years before I met my husband, I almost had that equivalent so along with working on a BS in biology I also started taking education courses to get my teacher licensure. Anyway to make a long story short, 5 years later I had my degree and my teaching credentials. That was in 2009 when markets were collapsing and extra jobs were few since I was an older new teacher many schools I applied to really did not wish to take a chance on me. So it took another 2 years to get hired as a teacher.

    In 2011 I landed a job as a High School Science teacher in a very small rural school about 1 1/2- 2 hours away from where we lived. With the boys all grown and out of the house we decided to pack up and moved in between where we lived and where I was now working. We had to get a second decent car that could take the millage, so we added on a car payment, which we had managed to avoid for the last 5 years since we put so many miles on our vehicles each year we have not been without a car payment since 2011.

    With my new teaching job, I was making around $32,000 and my husband was now making around $37,000 a year, we got better with our spending and we were even starting to save some. We started putting a lot of our tax refunds in savings instead of immediately blowing it on things we wanted. We were also starting to live the good life. We went out to dinner a lot, we went to the movies, and if there was something we wanted, most time we got it. All our bills were getting paid on time and we were no longer robbing Peter to pay Paul. I was even able to pay off student loans without it hurting our finances. Even though I worked in a very poor school and had received a majority of my loans while pursuing a teaching degree, I could not get the standard teacher write-off because out of approximately $35,000, $2000 of it was what I was still paying on from when I was in nursing school and since it was pre-1998, I could get none of it taken off.

    Our credit score continued to rise and after 10 years of renting, we were able to finance the house we had been renting in March of 2022, and our mortgage payment + Taxes + homeowners’ insurance came to the same amount that our rent had been for the last 10 years and we had received a fixed rate of 3.25%, so even though I was starting to have some health issues, it did not scar me taking on a new mortgage at our age. We had a small nest egg of about $10,000 in savings.

    But then the bottom fell out. I was getting sicker and ran up a lot of medical bills. Luckily I had insurance That paid a majority of the medical bills. Groceries and gas prices skyrocketed. My husband and I each drive about an hour to work each day in opposite directions so gas was definitely killing us. We had done some needed work on the house before things got tough so our nest egg wasn’t quite as big. Our dog developed cancer, so we had to care of that. My mother died, so we had to travel for her funeral and then a month later my father passed away with no money or insurance and no other family around, so it was up to my husband and me to bear the end-of-life cost for him and since our nest egg had dwindled to almost nothing just trying to make up the shortfall of the increased living expenses, everything started going on our credit cards. Now I have 2-3 interest payments that are each more than my car payment. Credit cards have an interest rate of around 28-29%. The last time we bout a low-mileage car we received a rate of 13% when our previous car rate had been 5.25%. In the previous 10 years, we had never been late on anything and even now we have managed to never be more than a week tops and that has only been 3 or 4 times.

    We tried to get a home equity loan to pay off most of the credit cards but our bank said we had too much credit card debt to get a loan, even though we now have about $50,000-60,000 equity built up in our home and our credit scores are only a tad under 700.

    So I am taking this course to learn how to get rid of debt without taking more debt. I will be working on it in between my teacher’s professional development. I put my story up here, so that people know that sometimes you can get into serious financial decline through no fault of your own and that circumstances can cause a major downfall. My husband and I are still working as much as ever but our living expenses and other unforeseen troubles got way out of hand


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