Easiest Weekly Budget & Personal Cash Flow

Our budgeting system is different from what you have seen before! It’s not based on the typical monthly budget that you see everywhere. It’s actually a WEEKLY budget that adds in a personal cash flow projection. That sounds complicated, but it is the easiest weekly budget to set up and use!

I haven’t wanted to point this out specifically because our book does a better job of helping you see why. But here are some highlights about why this combination works so well.

Weekly budgets are so much better than monthly

If you google for weekly budgets, you’ll see that several places say they are great to use.

MoneyManagement.org – Why You Should Budget Weekly, Not Monthly
BusinessInsider.com – Budgeting Weekly and Starting on Sunday Helped Me Save $5,000
FamilyBudgetExpert.com – Weekly Budget: Highly Effective
MoneyUnder30.com – Need Help With Your Budget? Try A Weekly Budget
The Organized Money YouTube Channel – My Weekly Budget Setup

Quote from our book:

“Months are simply too long. When you look at all the benefits you want from a budget (flexibility, empowerment, control, happiness, livability, making better trade-off decisions, learning from mistakes, ability to recover from mistakes, aligning your purchases with your values, quick feedback about how you are doing), you cannot get all of them when you look at things from a monthly frame of mind. It just doesn’t work.”

The Happy Giraffe Budget
Where most weekly budgets fail

As good as they seem to be, most people don’t use a weekly budget. I went 6 pages deep in the google search and only found 3 sites showing you how to do a weekly budget with any kind of detail.

The problem is that they are just monthly budgets divided into weeks. So you have to go through the whole, long, very detailed process of creating a brand new monthly budget at the start of each month, and THEN divide everything by 4 (or 4.2 if you want to be slightly more accurate).

There are 2 apps I know of that will do the weekly part for you, but they use the same math WHICH DOES NOT WORK!

So you didn’t save yourself any time, you are still only looking 1 month into the future, and you just multiplied the number of categories you need to track! You added a new weekly subcategory for each category. AND you can’t just divide the amount you want to spend by 4 (or 4.2) and assume you will have the money available when you need it!

In the book we simplified the weekly process by saying to take income – fixed expenses and divide by the number of weeks. BUT we also said DON’T USE THAT NUMBER IN REAL LIFE! You are missing an important step.

Personal Cash Flow

Businesses use cash flow projections all the time. They have to make a guess about how much money they will make before they decide how much they will spend on different investments.

What I didn’t know is that there are tools for individuals to calculate your own personal cash flow. This way you can look to see if you have the cash available when you are planning to spend it.

FINRA.org – Control Your Spending: Calculate Your Cash Flow
Bezinga.com – How To Calculate Cash Flow
Excel – Simple Personal Cash Flow Statement
MoneyBliss.org – Why You Need A Cash Flow Budget + How To Make One

But most of what you will find either looks backward (into your past) or only look forward one month. MoneyBliss had the best cash flow projection spreadsheet I could find, but still only looks ahead one month.

Personal Cash Flow The Happy Giraffe Way

One of the things The Happy Giraffe realizes toward the end of the story is that if you only look at income and fixed expenses, then you can look ahead much further than just one month. We usually look forward 2 YEARS! So instead of creating a completely new budget EVERY MONTH, we only need to update ours when our income changes or we add or remove a fixed expense. And those are quick updates to make.

So our whole budgeting process starts with creating a personal cash flow forecast. Everything people do to create a monthly budget (tons of categories, planners, reconciling, cash stuffing, paycheck planning, mapping, calendaring, highlighters, soooooo many different paper worksheets to fill out) WE THROW IT ALL OUT THE DOOR! You don’t need any of it.

Create your personal cash flow forecast ONE TIME in our spreadsheet (It takes even less work than a typical monthly budget would take) and you will be able to see DAY by DAY for the next 2 YEARS what your financial future will look like.

This is where we can prove that if you use the basic formula of dividing your expenses by 4, you will probably have a negative bank account at some point soon. This is because that formula doesn’t consider your real life cash flow.

Our spreadsheet will help you see what kind of weekly budget your situation can really handle. It is really easy because you can see the forecast day by day and play with the numbers.

A Weekly Budget that works in real life

Now that you have a good personal cash flow forecast AND a weekly budget you know will work, you don’t need the rest of the budgeting hassle that monthly budgets require. There’s no categories to track or worry about, no monthly review and updates to make, no worrying about which paycheck will cover which expense. The spreadsheet already did all of that work for you.

Other weekly budgets fail because they don’t combine the proven benefits of a weekly budget with the absolute need for a personal cash flow forecast. With the Happy Giraffe Budget we combine both and make it as easy as possible. The free spreadsheet does the hard work for you.

It shouldn’t cost you a lot to learn

The best part is that other than the book, everything we have, including 1-1 help, is FREE! The book and your donations help keep our nonprofit operating. I have seen people charge hundreds and even thousands of dollars to help you learn how to budget. And the worst part is that they are just teaching you the same monthly budget that everyone already knows about! It is nice to have someone encourage and guide you, but it shouldn’t cost so much!

Contact us at Hello@HappyGiraffe.org if you need any help at all. We are dedicated to helping you find happiness in budgeting. (Yes, you!)

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