We’re Having a (budget) Party!

Brent Pittman —  04/12/2011

Welcome to the (budget) party!  Have a soda and snacks.  Want to take a whack at the pinata?  Pay no mind to the calculator and excel files on my computer screen. They are just…uh decorations for the party! Here, put your party hat on. If you’re good and participate, we’ll have some cake afterwards.

Yes, it’s that time again.  Time to have a budget party at our house.  We call it a party so my wife shows up.  Meetings are not very fun anyways.  Parties have food, music, and good conversation.  Everyone loves a good party.  My wife doesn’t really enjoy coming to the budget party, but she does like having a budget and having money attached to our goals.

I do try to make it fun and short.  We set a timer, seriously.  I get 20 minutes, but of course I always ask for an extension.  To be fair though, my wife asks a lot of questions, good questions.  It keeps me honest and accountable for doing a good budget and tracking expenses.  I do get lazy sometimes and think to myself, “Why do those budgets always have to equal zero?”  Well they do.

Here is what I do to prepare for our Budget Party (besides ordering the pizza and cake).  The last few we do together as a couple.

  1. Record previous months expenses in excel budget (I get these numbers from Quicken YNAB)
  2. Prepare budget for next month in excel with current and foreseen expenses.
  3. We meet.  Prayer is 1st asking for patience, guidance, and wisdom.
  4. We review the previous month and how much over or under spent in each category.
  5. Present the current month’s budget and she adds birthdays and event expenses from the family calendar. She then changes numbers around  as long as our goals are met and we end up with a zero balanced budget (did you hear that congress?)
  6. Then we agree on the budget and it is binding.  If we need to change something on it, we BOTH must talk about it and agree.
  7. Eat cake or Chunky Monkey Ice Cream.

This the gist of our budget party.  We try to throw our party before or on the first each month.  It helps our relationship and also allows us to reach our goals together.  I hope you plan yours soon!  Enjoy your cake!

Budget Party Video

(Photo by Herkamer Roenski)

[This is part of my How to Budget Like a Pro blog Series]

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.