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
141 thoughts on “Create Your Rough Draft”
The rough budget added perspective. Helped me to see why I keep overspending. It made me think about financial freedom.
I thought about how I need another income and a lot more discipline.
We realized that we were underestimating in some areas and overestimating in others. We also realized that discipline (saying “no” to stuff we want but don’t need) will make saying “yes” to items we want and need easier in the future.
I needed to go the route of detailed budget so I ended up paying for the year. Hoping this will help keep us on track, I like that my husband has real time access to the info on the app no matter where he is.
I realize that not having and sticking to a budget makes me overspend. I also need another source of income. But, the core of the issue is that I don’t save enough.
This app has truly changed my life! I am a spender so I get excited when I’m putting my money into these envelopes! It gives the same ‘high’ as spending cash but in a more responsible way. 10/10
Thank you for this resource, you are doing amazing work!
Years ago I used another envelope budgeting system that worked for me but it was all in paper and so tedious I couldn’t keep it up. Very glad to have found this system with the app!
Thank you for the examples. I used a mix and match system from the three to make out our budget.
The third example will work for me because of how detailed it is. Vein go able to break it down in such a detailed way feels more comforting to start!
I have purchased the annual subscription because I have a LOT of categories!
Question: In writing your budget online, is it possible to drag and drop categories to better organize them? I am not having any luck doing this and had hoped to avoid having to hand write hard copy and transcribe it to digital.
Hi Sherry — by “drag and drop”, do you mean dragging and dropping to rearrange the Envelopes / change their order? If so, then yes, you can definitely do that. Please check out this guide in our Help Centre for more info: https://goodbudget.com/help/budgeting-with-goodbudget/change-envelope-order/
This process has definitely given me perspective. I am excited to adjust and fine tune my budget and cut out excess spending.
The simple budget example was more me, a little difficult, but all will fall into place
The third example – the detailed budget – suits me I think. There is a somewhat sense of relief when you gain the clarity of seeing where every cent will be going and how much to allocate within each timeframe. I really love the automatic category headings created in the Good Budget program with this method!
I realised that the fact that I started doing my own budget 3 years ago made the experience that much familiar and exciting! Using the GoodBudget app also made me realise that may be I have been missing out on exploring the advantages that come with using an app as opposed to the Google Docs template I have been so reliant on.
I had my draft already before starting this course. For weeks, I kept thinking about the how and the what, and one day I just googled a template. Ever since, I’m just adapting it the further I come in the process of getting an overview of my finances. It also teaches me that not everything needs to be perfect from the very beginning.
It felt great to be able to see things organized in order and have a better view of what finances are looking like.
It made me think about the future
It helps me to keep focus ob where my money should be going so I don’t overspend. “So that my money is serving me and Im not serving it.”
I created my budget this morning and then went grocery shopping. I feel the budget will keep in line and not overspend. It will hold me accountable, and I need that 🙂
As a working professional I have a few expenses that others don’t so we had to create envelopes for my license and association fees and continued education. We also made accommodations for discretionary spending.
Making our draft budget was a really difficult process. It really showed us where we were over spending and letting our money to get away from us!
Draft budget seems like we need more money so we can fill the envelopes. We are using the detailed budget.
I chose template number 3, the breakdown of the categories appeals to me greatly.
I’m going with a style somewhere between the simple budget and the detailed budget. I like keeping things a bit more general so that I have flexibility. I.e., grouping things together that I need but don’t necessarily buy every month, so one month I use it to restock the pet food, but next month I will use it to get a haircut. Also looking at the sample budget “annual” categories made me remember those things that didn’t come up yesterday–travel, holiday gifts, car registration…yikes! I have a lot to add, but this will hopefully be the key to keeping me from racking up credit card debt…the way I have been the past few years.
i chose the easy/simple number one
it is very stressful but a relief to take a baby step
I used the simple template. That one looks easier to start with for me since I don’t have a lot of categories. I’m still a bit confused about the annual part though…
The budget shows that I’m drowning because I owe more than I’m earning right now.