When I first started budgeting, I made the critical decision to only budget for money I already had in the bank. This choice gave me peaceful sleep to rival CBD oil, and the confidence to move forward without fear of desperate Discover card swiping.
But to only budget money I already had – what with not having a handy investor on board – I needed ready cash to get stared. I didn’t have enough available cash to budget for a whole month of expenses. But I could manage a week at a time.
So, that’s how I started: I budgeted once a week, using money I already had in the bank.
I eventually tried budgeting every two weeks once I had my account buffers and rollercoaster fund built up. But I went back to weekly budgeting because it’s just better! There’s even some research to back up my personal experience.
Why budgeting weekly is the secret sauce
You nip spending problems in the bud
It’s easier to to stick to your spending limits and less tempting to spend ‘off book.’ When you budget weekly, you’re looking at what and where you spent your money each week, instead of waiting another 3 weeks. This is a huge advantage, particularly when you are just starting out with using a budget.
You fast track to the enjoyment bit
We’re all born with the ability to enjoy eating noodles, but not so much riding a bike, or budgeting. The more you do the hard thing, the better you get at it. And the better you get at it, the more you enjoy it. And this is true of budgeting too, since it’s not like eating noodles at all. If you’re new to it, doing it weekly means you get a lot more practice at the process.
Budgeting weekly also keeps your debt and savings goals top of mind
Hopefully, every week you’re able to make a small extra debt payment or putting small amounts towards your sinking funds. Those small steps become their own reward, giving you a little hit of dopamine, which helps to keep you going. Yay.
Budgeting becomes an easy addition to your weekly planning
All creatives and solo small business owners that I know have some kind of weekly planning structure. They look at their upcoming meetings and appointments, review their goals and progress, set intentions for the following work week. When you budget weekly, you tack on creating the following week’s budget to your planning process. Like adding a quick tasty appetizer to a dinner you’re already preparing.
Bonus advantage: if you use cash envelopes, weekly budgeting is SO much easier.
Budgeting Weekly Just Doesn’t Sound Practical
Doesn’t budgeting weekly take too much time?
If you’re wondering about the time commitment of budgeting weekly vs monthly, I get that, but let me reassure you. Once you get the hang of it, a weekly budgeting process will take you 15-20 mins every weekend.
You can follow along with one of my live Sunday budget sessions on Instagram to see the process in action, or watch a replay on my IGTV.
What about larger expenses that crop up during the month?
If you’re budgeting weekly, and only spending money you already have in the bank, how do you manage large monthly or yearly expenses, like rent?
In my massage practice, I use rolling sinking funds for those. For example, each week I put $170 into my Business PayPal so I have the $650 ready at the end of the month to pay for my office rent.
What about closing out and reviewing your budget? Do you do that weekly?
No, I still close my budget out monthly. That allows a larger time cycle to review expenses, see savings steps add up, and track my net worth. The longer time cycle means you’ll see greater progress, which helps to keep you motivated.
The budget close out process is more time-consuming also. Doing your close out monthly makes the most sense.
Now it’s your turn! How often do you budget?
You are much more likely to use a budget, be intentional about your money, and be financially successful – whatever that means to you – if you surround yourself with others who are working on the same things.
Come and join the new Plum Tree Community ❤️ It’s the place I wish existed when I first started budgeting, with education, inspriration, accountability, and support for creative solopreneurs working to master their money.