Create Your Rough Draft

Week 1 | Day 4 | GB 101: Budget Bootcamp

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Welcome back! Now that we’ve estimated our income and expenses, it’s time to start creating the rough draft of our budget. This may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start. We’ve got some resources to help.

Now, we’ve written a few rough drafts in our lives. Mostly when we were in high school. The rough draft always came before the finished paper. We’d edit and edit and edit the draft until we were happy. Then, we’d turn it in and that would be it! We couldn’t edit it any more.

That’s where our budget rough drafts differ from the ones we wrote back then. We don’t have to turn in our budgets, so we can continue working on them forever. That might sound daunting, but it’s truly freeing! This gives us the opportunity to experiment and make adjustments to our budgets as we figure out what works and what doesn’t. Our budgets can always change because we ourselves are always growing and changing.

Today’s Assignment

  1. Look over the three sample budgets where you’ll see a list of different budget categories. We call these Envelopes in Goodbudget.
  2. Look back at the expenses you pulled up yesterday. When you think about your real expenses, which sample budget fits you best? Or might you want to mix and match? Remember to make room for giving — in week 3, we’ll do a giving experiment. Also think about what you might want to save for: that might be an emergency fund, or a big purchase like new tires.
  3. Sign up for the Goodbudget app, if you haven’t already. We recommend using the Goodbudget app for the next step.
  4. Add Envelope names for things you’d like to track using the sample budget as a guide. Head to the Edit Envelopes page in Goodbudget to add those Envelopes. For now, just put 0 for the amounts; you’ll work on those later. Be sure to save your changes when you’re done.Note: If you’re planning to track loans or other debts you’re working to pay off, be sure to add categories for those too, and we’ll show you how to connect them to Goodbudget’s debt features later on.
  5. Share with the community of budgeters in the comments below: What did it feel like to write a rough draft of your budget? What did it make you think about?

Note for couples: Make sure that the Envelope names make sense to both people. You can also start talking about who’s responsible for which Envelopes. For example, one person might do all the grocery shopping, while the other pays the electric bill. Each person will have certain Envelopes where they have freedom to spend, as well as some where they have to stay on budget. And there might be some for shared spending, and therefore shared responsibility.

Happy budgeting,
-The Goodbudget Team

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23 thoughts on “Create Your Rough Draft”

  1. Making my budget made me think about how specific I wanted to be. Is having one Eating Out Envelope enough? Is it useful to separate it into Eating Out (with people at work), Eating Out (with friends), Eating Out (bc I was lazy and didn’t want to cook), or is that just too much information?

  2. We don’t have kids at home anymore but we do have to help them out sometimes when they have an emergency whether its a home repair or auto repair so I need to include that.

  3. Well, I had to go with a mix up from the simple and detailed budget samples shared in this class.
    I felt fear at first, because I was afraid the money we earn does not cover all our expenses. By the time I created my first draft, we used to earn less money than we do today, but our kids were not at school yet back then. Once they entered school, our paycheck didn’t cover all those extra expenses, so we needed to raise our salary (fortunately we own our own business), but this made us think of our employees, and how they might as well be dealing with their budget. Made us empathize with them very deeply.

  4. I have gone with a very detailed list of envelopes/budgets. We have discussed and agreed all the sub categories.
    I put in the main categories and then the sub categories before finding out you don’t record the main category on its own.
    I cannot find a way of moving the order of the categories. I have later added some sub categories of one category and it just adds it to the end of the overall list.
    I want the same sub groups Initially together, as I organise the budget amounts.
    When using the app later on in transaction mode I think I will want the most used sub categories at the top of the list for ease of access/use.
    Need to know I can easily move categories about.
    I’m currently using an iPad and have not yet gone to iPhone.

  5. I definitely need the detailed list because once it gets all mumbled together, it’s hard for me to see patterns and trends or narrow in on issues or separate by due dates.
    This is my first month using goodbudget and the envelopes make sense psychologically, but the way they calculate throws me off because if I plan for $220 in an envelope and then I fill it to $100 with my first paycheck and then spend that $100. It puts me right back at $220, but technically, I should only be putting $120 in that envelope. So that’s going to be an adjustment for me and it’ll be an adjustment merging budgets with my husband next month, so that we can be on the same page.

    • Hi Rachelle – Thanks for posting! It sounds like you’re saying that you fill your Envelope — that has a budget of 220 — with 100 to start. Then, the next time it’s filled, it gets filled with 220 rather than the 120. Is that right? It sounds like you might have a scheduled fill that is adding in the full 220 budget. Try editing that scheduled fill, and adjusting the fill amount to 120, so the Envelope doesn’t continue to get filled with too much. Hope that helps!

  6. I am using my computer and my Ipad to download this website and I am finding it difficult to fill my envelopes. I am 82 years old and have always depended on my husband to take care of our finances. But I am determined to learn (with help from this program). It may take a while but I can do it!

  7. I don’t want a lot of envelopes because then I worry too much. I want some freedom. My hardest one is my free money because I desperately need to be able to be free but my logical brain says put it to work

  8. I think it will make us spend with moderation, knowing we have a spending limit will give us more control over what we save and how much we can give.

  9. I am using a mix of the three samples. I have no kids at home anymore, but I am also going to school and have a student loan. It took me a bit to figure out how to arrange my payments within the ten envelope limit, but eventually, I got it. I look forward to getting my budget under control. I like the process of doing just a little bit each day. It really adds up and is a boost to my self-confidence!

  10. I spend too much money on crap we don’t need. Looking at the sample budgets made me look at what I spend more specifically. I think I need to add some envelops to my budget and see how that goes.

  11. Over the last few months I have been tracking our budgeting needs and I definitely do think it’s a process of figuring out your personal lifestyle because different things are valued differently to each person. I think for me, one of the best things I have learned is to have a chain of command for our money. I give first to tithes/fast Offerings, then I give to my husband and I for our play money, then $25 per person for food per week, $25 for other necessities (shampoo, deodorant, makeup, etc.), then gas money, then go through all our bills. I also make sure to keep a miscellaneous category. I also have a chain of command for the saving portion of our money – first to what I call a “back-up Fund”, which is our first line of defense in an emergency (so car problems, family needing to borrow money, the just-in-case-of-life stuff), then an emergency fund (our last line of defense in an emergency), then medical fund, then goal Fund (ours is a home Fund because we would like to move), then it’s whatever is left over goes to our vacation Fund (except $36 per week goes to our Cruise Fund we’re planning on going on in 2021) and Our Rotating Fund (for big expenses like cars, etc.) Within our individual fun money categories, I make sure to set aside a portion of that money to my own “ rotating fun money”, which is for the bigger expenses just for me, and whatever I don’t use that week of the rest of my play money rolls over into that Fund. I also have a chain of command for what categories things roll over into. For example, what we don’t use that week for groceries goes into the back-up Fund. I also am definitely a believer of assigning a home to every penny. It might seem restrictive, but it’s actually a lot more freeing because that money gets spent whether or not it has an assignment so you might as well make it count towards what you really want. Also, I have become a believer of saving not just for the “just-in-case scenarios”, but also saving for fun in your life. If you have always wanted to go to Paris but never make a plan for it because you’re saving for whatever is the next emergency, you will never get there. It’s important to be prepared, but it’s also important and to live. Sorry for the massive post but maybe someone will find out somewhat useful.

    • Hi Brooke – Thanks for posting! I totally agree that making space for Fun is sooo important (and you’ll hear more about that as you get further in the course) because budgets are there to allow us to live out our values and have fun along the way.

  12. I have never used an official budget…but I also never had to worry about anyone else but myself…though sometimes I’d help out family. My husband and I picked the simple budget. There was a bit of a learning curve at first figuring out the envelopes, importing transactions etc BUT once it was all in there it was great to see where all the money goes. My personal goal is to make room for myself in my spending. I tend to deal with necessities first before the wants and my wants tend to come last. I always say, “Oh, I’ll get myself something next time” but next time turns into never. It drives my husband nuts. I’m going to change that. I am going to be fair to myself and make room for fun money.

  13. I’ve used a combination of the simple and detailed, breaking down categories when there’s a few items making it up.
    Hope I can keep this momentum going 🙂

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