The YFS household budget has changed many times over the past few years as we’ve stumbled and tripped along our financial journey.  Oh there were a lot of miscalculations and mishaps.  I’M NOT PERFECT and to this day my budget isn’t perfect.  But it’s damn close!.  OK first things first let’s stop calling it a budget.  What comes to mind when you hear the word budget?

The following terms come to mind when I hear the word budget.






















It’s weird but when I read that list something just jumps right out at me and maybe that’s the reason people can’t or won’t budget now.  You see we have a name problem! So from now at YFS we no longer say the dreaded B word, we will refer to it as a Spending Plan.  But you can call it what ever you want.


Just associate managing your money with something positive.  What comes to mind when you hear the words Spending Plan?  This is what


I think when I hear the words Spending Plan.  

























Why use a Spending Plan



Aside from the aforementioned adjectives?  Hmm…I’ll keep this simple.  If you don’t tell your money what to do, your money will do what it wants to do.  Your money is like a child.  They mean well, but they need direction until they get mature enough to make decisions on their own.  Unfortunately, money is the child who never grows up so get used to being a parent forever!


Tips to create an effective Spending Plan


There are three tips to dominating your finances.

  1. Track all income
  2. Track all expenses
  3. Leave nothing left over! (Creating a zero-based budget)


This is much simpler than it sounds.  You can complete those 3 steps with only 30 minutes a month!


The YFS Spending Plan


We use a zero sum Spending Plan.  That means at beginning of the month we determine 100% exactly what we will do with our money and have a total left over amount of zero.  Our budget is broken down into a few categories


  1. Income – Net income for the month
  2. Must Haves – Things you have to pay if shit hits the fan
  3. Savings – Emergency / Annual savings
  4. Business – We budget in a small amount for our side hustles
  5. Wants – Variable expenses and things we generally don’t “have” to have.
  6. Totals – Sum of Income, Must Haves, Savings, Business and Wants


Here is how our current monthly Spending plan breaks down.


Mrs. YFS


HOA dues
Electric Bill
Gas Bill
Mrs. YFS Life Insurance *
Mom Student Loans




Additional Car Payment
Lawn care Fund
Dog surgery Fund
Bday/Xmas Fund
Appliance Replacement Fund
Annual Car Tax Fund
Annual Personal Liability Insurance Fund
Annual Car Insurance Fund
Annual Life Insurance Fund


YFS Fun Money
Mrs. YFS Fun Money
Mrs. YFS Trip*
YFS  Trip*
Dog expenses
Dry Cleaning


Total outgo
Total Left over


As you can see we plan for everything!  The total left over amount at the end of the month is always zero.  That is what I mean when I say tell your money what to do.  To track spending we include a column for “Budget Amount” and “Actual Amount”.  The budget amount column is what we expect the expenses to be.  The actual amount is column specifies our actual expenses during that month.    The items with a * next to them are expenses that occur either annually or once in a while.


Tips to keep it all together:


Automate, Automate, Automate.  Our finances are on cruise control.  We pay for everything on a credit card using their auto pay features and we auto deposit our savings into ING direct.  I only have to perform two things manually:


  1. Schedule our credit card payment
  2. Track our expenses


We use account aggregation for managing our accounts so all our transactions are in one easy to find location.  This makes tracking your expenses very easy.  I personally use www.yodlee.com for account aggregation.   Lastly, allow yourself some fun money.  If you do not “Budget in the fun stuff” your spending plan will go as well as a crash diet.  Meaning, you probably will be OK for a few months but eventually you will binge spend.


Your spending plan should be a road map to help you achieve your goals and something that you can use forever.  We are in it for the long haul.  We want you to be fit for life not just the summer!  


Pop quiz!  What’s the difference between using a debt card or credit card if you use a Spending Plan that you follow?


Answer:  You get to use the security and benefits of the credit card without having to pay any interest or fees.


You also get 30-45 days of float to pay the credit card bill.  If you have a Spending Plan that you follow and update, you will soon realize the restrictions of a debit card/cash plan.


Tell me about your Spending Plan?


Leave a comment letting me know what you think of our spending plan?


Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to improve the YFS spending plan?




  • I think it sounds like a great plan and a feasible one too. I like your take on being too sexy for a budget. Totally cracked me up.

    We have been working on a zero based budget ourselves. We haven't perfected it yet but it will come.

  • YFS /

    Thank you for the comment Miss T. I'm glad you enjoyed it :-). No spending plan is perfect but keep chipping away at it it will be good enough

  • This is a really great article and a very easy way to incorporate a spending plan in your household.

  • Heck yeah! It's all in how you think about it. I think "freedom" …. 'cuz that's what money management is! It's a path to freedom!

  • YFS /

    You're absolutely right Paula. Your thoughts are where it starts. I like that you associate your spending plan with freedom.

  • Great article. I'd like to reiterate the "automate" comment. Money in my hand is doomed to be spent at Dairy Queen! Like many people, I'm a spender at heart. By keeping cash out of my dirty paws the bu–oops, almost said it–sexy spending plan works.

    Great piece. Thanks for the awesome tips.

  • YFS /

    LOL.. "Money in my hand is doomed to be spent at Dairy Queen" I literally laughed out loud!. Yes please don't say the B-word! Thank you for reading

  • […] cover food, toys and the occasional trip to the dog park. If you want more information on how we budget see my post I AM TOO SEXY TOO BUDGET. 70 dollars a month on a 8lb dog to cover food, toys, and play […]

  • LT /

    Curious, when you say that a debit card has restrictions, do u mean that in a good way or a bad way? I figure the debit card is better due to the lack of fees. Please explain

  • YFS /

    The debit card is restricting you because if you do not have the cash at the time of the transaction you cannot get the item. Or you will face a fee. The credit card does not have such restrictions. You can swipe now and pay later. If you have a zero sum spending plan you will be 100% ok because you know by the last day of the month you have enough income to cover your expenses. Also, if you pay in full and on time every month you will not have any credit card fees.

  • LT /

    I guess this only applies to the things u cant afford at the moment. If you comfortably have the money on hand, would a credit card still be better? I only use my credit card to reserve rental cars and I still pay it w/ my bank card, b/c i tend to usually have the funds to cover it on hand. If there was something I wanted and wouldn't have until, lets say next payday or some other time in the near future, I would charge it, but not on a daily basis.

  • YFS /

    Even if you have money on hand credit would be better. You get a longer time for fraud protection with a credit card. 60 days for fraudulent transactions. A debit card gives you about 30 days of protection with the stipulation that you report the fraud with 48 hours. There are more protections as well but it varies by card. Also, with a credit card you often get some type of benefit for using it (cash back, reward points, etc etc). We just paid for a trip to Europe on credit reward points buying the same stuff we would normally buy.

  • LT /

    Ahhhh!!! I see….. Makes sense now. (dont judge me for it taking so long.) My bank just stopped the rewards on the bank card, but it was definitely worth it to credit everything for the reward points. I am going to look at my credit cards benefits package a bit closer. Thanks.

  • YFS /

    No problem. I like the questions! It keeps me on my toes.

  • Lazy Sunday Weekly Recap #2 | Your Finances Simplified /

    […] Winning!  We were planning a trip to Europe anyway so, we already had the money saved via our sexy spending plan!  She has been watching plane ticket prices like a hawk and it paid off big time.  We estimated […]

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  • […] as well as well being care bills, or helping out your kids and grandchildren, may be taxing your budget. About fifty eight percent of U.S. residents age 55 and older have saved less than $100,000 for […]

  • Spending Plan sounds way better than Budget. (The picture of the straight jacket is a little scary). I like how your spending plan is set up. Simple and effective.

  • My problem is; I think a budget is a sexy term, but that's probably the accountant inside of me kicking out and screaming "I love balancing the general ledger and running financial ratios! Now hand me a the income statement I need to run a margin analysis"

  • YFS /

    Lisa I agree.. that's why I always use the term spending plan.

  • This is great info! It does seem like it is simple and effective to have a spending plan. But I think keeping track of expenses will require some effort and many people struggle with this. Only if the manual effort can be eliminated… I think mint.com is a great start to help you with automating your spending…

  • YFS /

    I dislike mint.com 's user interface. I prefer a simple option with information. For this reason alone I use Yodlee.com. Yodlee has a "fancy" user interface but provides me the option to disable it.

  • YFS /

    Mint.com and yodlee.com both have great budgeting functions but they just don't do it for me. Even with yodlee or mint you have to massage the transactions to put them into the correct categories. No solution would be 100% automatic. I just find it easier to work with a spread sheet and only use yodlee for capturing all my transactions and tracking my networth.

  • We started to automate our ING savings too for a month now…I LOVE IT! we're actually saving, it's great seeing it goes up everyweek..

  • Budget or spending plan, it all depends on follow thru.

  • YFS /

    Great job Aaron!

  • Neo /

    I am very much on-board with your view on automation; when income comes in immediately hide it from yourself. You can't spend what you don't see, as long as you are not using credit cards, i.e. cash-only or a similar system.

    Great work on budgeting and having fun too! I think budgeting is like dieting: you can be ultra-restrictive and lose a lot of weight really quickly, but it is unsustainable because you are starving yourself. Same thing with budgets, saving too much and having no-life because you can't spend any money will likely backfire on you. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"… red rum!

  • Out of curiosity, do you use a program like Mint to help you keep track of expenses, etc?

  • YFS /

    Yes! I use yodlee.com it's similar to mint but has a better user interface

  • YFS /

    I agree. But 95% of the battle is knowing.. Once you have a spending plan life is much much easier

  • YFS /

    I agree! There has to be a balance to everything or you will ultimately not keep up with your spending plan.

  • It is very practical tips! Great post!
    I agrees with you so much that budget is so boring I do it differently. The way i go as follow
    Pay my self first- this is the money i allocate for saving/investing
    than take out the necessary expense like housing, food etc….
    I would have a X amount of money left for personal use, so i can spend on things I liked.

  • We also apply the zero balance (at the end of the month) budget philosophy. This ensures everything is used to it's full potential…debt reduction, savings. Don't let it sit in the checking account.

  • YFS /

    Good plan. We usually give ourselves 500 each for "fun money" in our personal accounts This way our house account isn't flooded with little ticky tack expenses.

  • YFS /

    Zero balance is the way to go. I don't understand any other way. A spending plan isn't complete unless you plan every dollar.

  • My approach is a spending plan too. I set up a payroll deduction for my retirement savings and live on what is left. I review all my expenses monthly to make sure they are within my goals. It works for me!

  • So true about automating your spending plan. I just set my final automation up last month and it feels good to know it's done and hands free for me!!!

  • YFS /

    How do you track your expenses to determine if you're actually living on what's left? Do you maintain a written spending plan?

  • YFS /

    Automation and it feels so goooooood lol! Great job Jenny!

  • I started out with a spreadsheet plan/budget and make sure the expenses stay at or below the targets. My expenses will fluctuate somewhat over the year, but so will my income. I am not that concerned because I met my goal and it works out by the end of the year. I do not mean to sound casual about it, but I really wring out all the fat and I live very modestly. Looking at the bills often and not just paying them keeps me focused

  • YFS /

    At the end of year what matters most is that you hit your goals. A spending plan is what you make it. You can be meticulous and track things every day or you can do it once a month, but if you hit your goals.. you're doing it right!. Another thing I noticed is that it depends on how comfortable you are. When I started my spending plan I tracked expenses ever day or ever 2 days. This was taking too much time in my book. So I broke it down to accomplishing all my tasks within 30 minutes a month. So we both are pretty casual. I was just curious on how you kept it all together.

  • If constraints and control aren't sexy, you're probably not a BDSM fan.

  • YFS /

    LOL! I was just painting a picture.

  • […] I’M TOO SEXY TO BUDGET YourFinancesSimplified.com […]

  • Marissa @ Thirtsyixm /

    I may be the only person who likes the idea of a budget. It makes me keep a handle on my spending.

  • YFS /

    A budget and spending plan both have the same idea. The difference is what word conjures in your mind when saying it/performing the action.

  • […] Preparing a meticulous plan- Now that you have spent more money than you make, the first thing you should do is prepare a well documented financial plan that will point out all the mistakes you have made. This may seem time consuming at first, but the internet provided you the access to a lot of state of the art software programs to do the work for you. […]

  • Same here, the word doesn't bother me at all. It just helps me keep my spending in line with my goals.

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  • Edit /

    I totally agree, spending plan sounds pretty much better and sexier than the word with the b….
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  • […] before you purchase it, and you will want to budget for this cost as well. Basically, if you have a budget for buying your new property, you don’t want to spend everything you have got on the property […]

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