Remember last week when I wrote this post and said we would start “tomorrow”. By tomorrow, I apparently meant next week. Why do I make such promises on the Internet? When will I learn? Anyway…today (which, technically speaking, is yesterday’s tomorrow) we begin.
You can go ahead and file this breaking news under the heading ‘Things That Are Not Shocking’, but the very first step in the household item purchasing process is figuring out how much you want to (and can) spend.
Whether you are buying a single piece of furniture or, like a crazy person (i.e. us), attempting to furnish your whole house in one go, you NEED a budget. Maybe this seems super obvious to all you Frugal Fannies and Thrifty Tiffanies out there. But for those of us who are more Spendy Sallies or F#$% it Fionas, it is important to acknowledge that this whole budget thingymajabber – yeah, it is often a complete afterthought. We Spendy Sallies just dive right in and start throwing money around like we are as well off as Donald Trump says he is.
Then, we get our credit card bill. The next 5 months are spent crying into our ramen noodles, walking around with chipped toenail polish and raiding our kid’s allowance jar just so we can buy a latte.
It is a real problem. Thus, it bears repeating: You need a budget.
I kid you not, there are household items for sale in EVERY price point on the planet. You can buy a coffee table for $25 or $25,000. Truly. And if you start looking for a coffee table without a set budget in mind… guess what? You will fall in love with and HAVE TO HAVE the $25,000 one. Every. Damn. Time.
Do you hear me F#$% it FIONA? You need a budget. You also need to stick to your budget…but we’ll talk more about that part later. First, we must create a budget.
And just before we get started, let it be shouted from the rooftops that I am not an expert in budget making or household item purchasing or whatever. HA! As if! I am a complete rookie. I genuinely have no idea what I am doing. So you should really think of this series as a documentation of what we did…not necessarily what you should do. Lord knows, I don’t need that kind of pressure in my life.
I don’t know about you, but I find the sheer number of budgeting apps and websites totally intimidating. There are so many of them and they all do approximately a billion and one things. I’m sure for big budgeting tasks, these tools would be worth exploring…but for this task, I just wanted something super simple. Enter stage right: a good ol’ fashioned Excel spreadsheet.
We (and by we, I mean Brado) started by crunching some numbers and figuring out exactly how much money we had to work with. We basically settled on a number that ensured that we still had a big ol’ safety net of savings, but that also allowed us to make a serious dent in our home purchases. We had known for a year that we would be making these purchases eventually, so we have been saving and saving (and saving!) for them. We also knew that we didn’t just want to buy complete crap that we would have to repurchase in a few years time. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But since we had the money, we wanted to invest in at least a few pieces that we would have for a very long time. So, we tried to factor all of that into the equation.
It feels weird to reveal the exact number we came up with. But let’s just say for the purposes of this post, that it was $12,000. It wasn’t….but let’s just pretend.
The next step was to figure out what exactly we needed to purchase. When you are furnishing a whole house, the “what do I need to purchase?” question is very overwhelming. Because the answer is: everything. But if you are a normal person, you can’t afford to buy everything…at least not all at once. So the next step becomes prioritizing.
Using our Excel spreadsheet, I first created a list of all the rooms in our house. See below:
Then, under each heading we made a list of all the essential things we needed to purchase for each room. I tried to only include the very basics. The top of the list was reserved for the absolute, must-have items, whereas the bottom half was reserved for the it-would-be-nice-but-don’t-need-it-right-now type of stuff.
From there, we assigned our $12,000 to the various rooms according to our current needs. Again, these are not the real numbers. I just plugged in some numbers to use as an example:
As you can see, for some rooms we are making no purchases. That is because we do already have some items. For instance, our house comes with the dining room chairs and table thus, we are not investing any money in that room right now.
Okay, here is the cool part (are you still awake?). Brado set up our Excel spreadsheet so that I could just plug in and play with the numbers and it keeps a consistent running total of our each room’s total and our overall budget. I mean, DUH! This is what Excel does. Brado assures me that this is pretty much the most basic thing you can do with Excel…but for me, a non-Excel user and a non-budget-maker, my mind was seriously BLOWN. All of the sudden this whole budget-thing was kinda fun.
I feel like I am not making any sense and you aren’t going to be able to appreciate the amazingness of this so I made you a little video that highlights, both the cool factor of budgeting and my dorkiness. Win-Win.
Also, it is possible that this video won’t work for you at all or it will be all fuzzy. If that is the case, my sincerest apologies. It is my first attempt at embedding a video into a post…so let me know if you have trouble viewing it.
Can I also make one last disclaimer? Talking and typing and trying not to sound like a complete idiot is pretty much impossible. At least for me.
Told ya. SO. HARD.
Wanna make your own cool (and SUPER simple) budget spreadsheet using Excel? Let me (not Brado) show you how:
So easy, right?
Making the budget is the easy part. Sticking to the budget is a whole different conversation. But I am living proof that it can be done. F#$% it Fionas can become Financially Responsible Fionas.
And if you love me, next time you see me, can you please not laugh at me for my lack of Excel knowledge? I’m old. I took typewriting in high school (Shout out to Ms. Prince!). Excel was still a twinkle in Bill Gates’ eye.
What I’m trying to say is…be kind.
Do you all use a budget? Do you have a particular app you love or any fancy Excel tricks you can teach me? Do you have the capability of typing, talking and sounding smart? What are your secrets? Do tell!