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How to Have a Monthly Budget Meeting

From Podcast #164, the one in which Jesse shows his true colors. He knows how to have a budget meeting party.

Today I want to talk about the monthly budgeting meeting. It can be a party or it can be an absolute disaster and you can walk away in a huff and it’s no fun at all. I promote the idea of making this a party.

It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but just making your budget meeting even a little bit fun goes a long way, especially if there’s a reluctant party involved — and by party I mean person, not the budgeting party itself. So, liven it up a little bit and see what you can do to make it a little more fun!

Sometimes a little treat goes a long way, maybe something to drink, maybe some music — I have no idea how you all roll. But just something besides just staring at the computer screen does a lot.

Julie and I sit down at the computer, down in the office — we usually pound it out there. Honestly, what I do now, I do a pre-emptive strike on the budget.  I reconcile it, make sure it all balances and everything’s accurate, and pre-fill the next month’s budget. Then I call Julie over and say, “Hey, it’s ready. What do you think?” And we go through it in… I don’t know, five minutes. It’s the shortest party ever and it’s not very painful — it’s just fine.

Sometimes at the beginning of the year we’ll have a pretty big party where we kind of evaluate the state of things and we do some calculations, figuring out, “Hey, is our Utilities category still sufficient?” or, “Our Fixed Bills category — is that still accurate?”

Then we do some analysis: “Do we still like this priority that we’ve placed? What about kids’ activities? Are we still liking that, not liking it? What are we doing there?” On the home schooling front we would think, “Okay, do we need anything… books or anything like that?” We can kind of do bigger planning once a year, but on the monthly budget meeting you just make it fun.

Grab some dark chocolate, if that’s your thing, and enjoy it and plug numbers into YNAB and embrace the scarcity that is Rule One.

Maybe hug each other when you’re done with something or… I don’t know, maybe give your wife a kiss and tell her, “Thanks,” give your husband a kiss and tell him, “Thanks.” Whatever floats your boat — but make it something that you can look forward to.

Until next time, follow YNAB’s four rules and you will win financially. You have never budgeted like this.

This episode aired March 23, 2015.

For more about how to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, get out of debt and save more money, faster — subscribe to the You Need A Budget podcast today!

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How to Have a Monthly Budget Meeting