Beyond the Basic Budget

Have you ever met someone who seemed to have it all together? Perhaps this perfectly primped person could balance a load of laundry with a plate of cupcakes while herding sheepdogs, kids and monkeys out the door. Or perhaps this person could simultaneously balance multiple checkbooks at once, charge a purchase to her bankcard, and pay off the student loan, the gas bill and the mortgage (all while filing her taxes).

I’ve met some of these perfect people in my life, and I am never more surprised by anyone than I am by super-budgeters. These peeps have personal finance all figured out down to the very last penny, and I am always envious of this perfection – to the point that I had to check out more about this super-budgeting phenomenon. Let’s look at what I found!

Super-Budgeters are Real People with Real Goals

Although they may resemble a computer or an abacus, I assure you that super-budgeters are real, live, breathing human beings. They’ve just figured out finance better than the average bear. Their secret: breaking down numerous goals into manageable monthly tasks.

How do they really accomplish this? Super-budgeters often have a vast number of accounts and a large number of goals to make this happen. For example, whereas many people may lump the fee for a haircut into miscellaneous spending, a super-budgeter will have a specific account from which the cash for a new ‘do will come.

How Can I Super-Budget?

It may seem like this type of perfection is unreachable to average bears like me, but actually, super-budgeting your life is much simpler than it looks. How? Well let’s look at ways to budget as super-ly as possible.

First off, let’s assume your budget is somewhat structured already. You probably already have a basic idea of how much you spend on housing, bills, savings, food, gas and other essentials. If not, take a look at our post about basic budgeting.

With this basic budget in mind, you can take a look at miscellaneous spending. From here, you can create a spending limit or different accounts for each miscellaneous expenditure, like school supplies, lunches, haircuts, auto repairs, etc. Basically, anything that you ever spend money on should have its own category.

Now you can figure out how much you spend on each every year. Dividing this amount by your number of paychecks per year will bring you to the maximum amount you should spend on each item every time you are paid. Those pesky bills that pop up occasionally can each have their own savings account or one large account, but as long as you are saving for the expected (and the unexpected) every paycheck, you will be on your way to super-budgeter extraordinaire!

Budgeting can be tricky no matter if you are an easygoing budgeter or a super-budgeter. However, if you super-budget, you may be able to handle the unexpected with fewer financial headaches and more spare change in your accounts at the end of the year.

Are you an easygoing budgeter or a super-budgeter? Any tips to help the easygoing budgeters (like me!) find the structure we may need?

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Anonymous's picture

MoneyCone wrote:

Wed, 08/24/2011 - 12:03 Comment #: 1

I'm a flexi-budgeter! Anything too rigid causes grief. But being flexible and tweaking the budgeting strategy along the way has helped immensely.

Nice howto on budgeting!

Anonymous's picture

Paula @ AffordAnything.org wrote:

Wed, 08/24/2011 - 17:02 Comment #: 2

I'm a pretty easygoing budgeter: I know what I spend on housing, utilities, insurance, and a giant "catch-all" category called "credit card" that includes gas, groceries, restaurants, my gym membership, hair salons, trips to Target and CostCo, etc.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Wed, 08/24/2011 - 21:45 Comment #: 3

MoneyCone, I agre that being too rigid causes me grief as well -- I tweak here and there often.

Paula, that's how I budget, too: a huge catch-all that is flexible!

Anonymous's picture

anotherhousewife wrote:

Thu, 08/25/2011 - 04:08 Comment #: 4

In an ideal world I would love to be a "super-budgeter" but we have a flexible commission based income that requires a flexible budget. I do use the Dave Ramsey Spending Plan after I know how much my husbands paycheck is going to be I spend every penny on paper, including savings and fun money, before it is actually spent.

Anonymous's picture

Niki wrote:

Thu, 08/25/2011 - 13:26 Comment #: 5

I am more easy going now. I think now that I have a good feel for what our spending ahould be I can relax a bit.

Anonymous's picture

Lindy Mint wrote:

Thu, 08/25/2011 - 19:58 Comment #: 6

Easy going for me. I do envy those who budget to a penny, but that always seems to give me headaches. It's just not my personality. The key for me is finding a way to achieve the same results as the super budgeters, without all the bean counting involved. I'm still working on this one.

Anonymous's picture

femmefrugality wrote:

Sat, 08/27/2011 - 01:12 Comment #: 7

Super-budgeter! But I agree with MoneyCone...can't be too rigid or you'll hate life. It helps that my partner in finances is the exact opposite...so we balance each other out managing to pay the bills and enjoy life's little splurges.

Anonymous's picture

Yakezie Blog Swap #10 And More... wrote:

Sun, 08/28/2011 - 14:27 Comment #: 8

[...] Mom Vesting wrote about how Super Budgeters have it all together – Beyond the Basic Budget. [...]

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Sun, 08/28/2011 - 19:34 Comment #: 9

Anotherhousewife, great tip! I have to sheepishly admit I have not checked out Dave Ramsey's plan yet, although everyone seems to love hime. I'll have to do so soon!

Niki, glad you found a great fit! The easy-going budgets seem to be more popular than the super-budget. Probably because it fits busy lives a lot better!

Lindy Mint, that seems to be what I'm striving for, too. A little better results and not just one lump account for all those miscellaneous things.

Femmefrugality, sounds like you and your partner are a great match! I'm more of a saver and my husband likes to spend a little more, so we do the same in balancing each other out!

Anonymous's picture

Women and Finances: Getting Started Budgeting and Investing wrote:

Wed, 01/18/2012 - 21:15 Comment #: 10

[...] Need help creating a budget? Here are tips for a basic budget and advanced budgeting techniques. [...]

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