4 Real Life Budgeting Examples from Bloggers We Love


Have you ever checked your bank account to see if you have “enough money”? If so, then you need a budget.

How much you spend isn’t something you want to guess, because you want to know exactly how much you have and where it’s going. Yes checking is quick and simple, but if you have a budget in place then you don’t need to, you know you have the money to pay your bills.

Without a budget, you feel regret almost as soon as the money is gone: you have no idea if you have money in your account, no idea if you will be able to pay needed expenses because of today's splurge.

Budgets also keep marriages together. If you and your spouse differ on what to spend on then you need to have an open conversation about what’s really important for you both. If you both agree to spend money on something then when that money is spent it won’t lead to an argument. (Hopefully)

Related: 30+ Pieces of Money Advice for Newlyweds and Couples

3 Budgeting Systems That Work

Having a budget template can make budgeting much easier. There are many budgeting systems that work for whatever lifestyle you live!

#1 – Envelope Method

You put physical cash into envelopes stating what each envelope is for. For rent, it says “rent”, groceries “groceries, etc. If you run out of money in one category and want/need to spend more you have to remove it from one envelope. Meaning that if you overspend in groceries and take the money from the rent you won’t be able to pay rent without taking the money from somewhere else.

#2 – Zero Based Budget

Your goal is to get your account to $0.00. Kind of. You budget everything out and if at the end of the month you know that you have no more bills and there is $300 left over (or even $5) then you have to spend that money.

Now that doesn’t mean go out and party (with the $300 not the $5) but instead make an extra debt payment, or invest more. Basically, any money that doesn’t have a purpose needs to be given a purpose.

#3 – 50-20-30 Rule

  • 50% – Living expenses rent, utilities, groceries, travel to work, etc.
  • 20% – Financial goals like savings, investing or paying off debt.
  • 30% – All unnecessary things like going out to eat, traveling, or going to the movies.

Related: “I Blew my Budget” – Here's How to Recover

Real Life Budgeting Examples

Here are four bloggers that actually show you their budget every month, not just what they should have spent but what they ACTUALLY spent. It's so refreshing to be able to have these examples

Frugalwoods (December 2016)

The Frugalwoods spent $2,941.75 for the month of December, one of the most expensive months for most people. Almost half their mortgage ($1,392.86) and $375.36 Christmas related.

Retire By 40 (November 2016)

Joe’s family spent $4,144 in November with over half being housing and gives himself a “cash allowance to spend on miscellaneous things.

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

Crystal spends $5,670 every month, the highest of budgeting examples. Being completely self-employed she budgets for income tax ($1,000 a month) but still leaves room in the budget for entertainment, “splurging out”, and miscellaneous. Meaning she can spend money there and not feel bad, or wonder if “it’s in the budget”

Mr. Free at 33 (December 2016)

Jason keeps his expenses low compared to most people. In December (an expensive month) he spent just $1,071 on personal expenses.

Though most couldn’t live on $1,000 in a month, some spend more each week, it doesn’t mean that Jason is missing out at all. He lives a satisfying life, doing what he wants when he wants and is happy.

How Do These Real Life Budgeting Examples Benefit Us?

Your lifestyle is up to you. Jason who spends around $1,000 is just as happy as Crystal is spending almost $6,000. Neither one lacks or wants something the other has.  Having a budget and following it doesn’t make any of these bloggers unhappy. Because they budgeted properly they know how much they're going to spend next month and this month. It actually simplifies their lives rather than complicates them.

Related: 4 Steps to Achieving Your Financial Best Life

Don’t let your money control you, experience the joy those from our budgeting examples have. They enjoy the freedom of knowing where their money is, what they can buy when they can spend money, and when they can’t. You can have the same if you budget your money.

Grab our free budgeting spreadsheets. Click here to subscribe for access to the best life vault and nab access to six other worksheets while you’re in there!

4 Real Life Budgeting Examples from Our Favorite Bloggers

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  • Colin @ rebelwithaplan
    August 17, 2017 at 5:53 am

    I love the zero-sum budget. It’s what I used when I paid off my student loan debt. Whenever I had any extra money at the end of the month (after putting away for savings), I would put it towards debt. I was able to pay off $21,000 in 18 months!

  • Crystal
    August 14, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Wowza. Yeah, people sometimes tell me it must suck to be frugal when they hear I’m a personal finance blogger. I have to tell them that 1) frugality doesn’t suck and can be a lot of fun and 2) I’m not that kind of personal finance blogger. LOL. I’m cheap on crap that doesn’t matter to me and spend on stuff that does (like our home and travel) and make sure we are putting away a minimum of 25% a year for the future. Voila! Budgeting. *Drops mike* HAHAHAHAHA

    • Lauren Bowling
      August 14, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      Totally get it. Everyone always asks me for frugality tips and I’m like, “Sorry…I’m not the one to ask.” LOL