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.
- Look over the three sample budgets where you’ll see a list of different budget categories. We call these Envelopes in Goodbudget.
- 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.
- Sign up for the Goodbudget app, if you haven’t already. We recommend using the Goodbudget app for the next step.
- 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.
- 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.
-The Goodbudget Team