If Real Simple weren’t so focused on getting you to buy stuff to make your life simpler (?!), it might come close to being as good as Simple Mom.
If that last sentence didn’t make sense (I’m only one coffee into the morning), let me rephrase it: SimpleMom.net is an absolutely awesome blog, and if you aren’t reading it, you should be. Ostensibly, it’s easy to lump it into the “mommyblog” grouping of blogs, but it’s about so much more than that, even if you aren’t a mom (or a dad), you should check it out.
Anyway, Simple Mom’s post from today, The Basics Behind a Budget That Works is outstanding. She’s written about budgeting and personal finance before, but this post is her best yet. It’s easily in the top 5 blog posts I’ve ever read about personal finance, and is certainly the best I’ve read on how to get started with budgeting. As much as I love Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar, neither one has really nailed budgeting yet. Simple Mom completely blew it out of the water.
One point she makes that I’ll just highlight, as it’s rare to see someone explicitly state it: if you’re trying to create a perfect, master budget, you’ll almost certainly give up in frustration. Instead, you should be building a series of monthly budgets … each based on the budget from the month before, but each unique to the situations you’ll be facing in the coming month. Nobody ever talks about this, but it’s an important distinction to make. This is, in part, why we don’t let you budget way in advance within PearBudget. The furthest you can go into the future is next month. Because things (priorities, needs, situations) change, if you’ve set up something far into the future, the ground’s liable to shift underneath your feet, leaving you unsteady and ill-prepared. Your own “preparedness” can end up being a big liability.
Anyway, you should check it out: The Basics Behind a Budget That Works.