This Budget Success Stories Page contains a growing list of Budgeting Ideas from readers like you!
If you want some encouragement about how a budget can revolutionize your personal finances, you’ve come to the right place. We love hearing stories of budgeting success – going from debt to equity, desperation to determination and seeing the joy of families who have learned to make their money do what they want it to do. Read these stories and be encouraged!
This page contains the following stories:
Budget Success, Young Adult Success, Budgets Lift Burdens, Budget with Confidence, A Child Running A household Budget, A Better Way to Control Spending, Feeling Free and Light, Inspired to Frugality, A Newbie Budget Question, Budgeting With A Credit Card
Just wanted to let you know I have really enjoyed all the articles you’ve written. I feel like I know you through your website and having seen you on TV a couple of times.
My husband is retired and disabled with Emphysema. I quit work before I could collect retirement so I could care for him. I will be able to collect retirement in another year. So, you see, we have really used much of your advice. It is such a load off our shoulders knowing how to live on less than we have coming in. Thank you!
We have done so many of the things you have suggested. The Budget Book is the only way to go! Yes, it’s extra work, but it sure helps to see what we have available to spend in each category — it’s all there in black and white.
I still have trouble with some of my wants and desires, but I am working on it. It does keep me in check, if I think I want something, to write it down and wait a month before making my final decision.
It also helped me to read Larry Burkett’s books too. I’m glad you suggested it. My whole attitude changes each time I remember that I need to seek God’s purpose for what is supplied to us. Can’t wait until you write your next book!! Carolyn & John H. – Kingman, AZ
Your book, America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money, was the very first money saving book I read when I was in college and $35k in debt. I then went through hundreds of other money saving books but yours has always been my favorite. I am 36, paid off my house and now have $65k saved towards a second house. I’m single and make $21 an hour. I just wanted to say thank you. You really helped me get my money life on track. Prepper Princess – Livermore, CA
Prepared for an Economic Downturn
My family and I saw you on the Dr. Phil show. Your book, Email Newsletter articles and advice have done nothing but prepare my wife and me for what is happening right now. We took what you said seriously over the past three years and then all of a sudden, the economic downturn hit us — but we felt prepared.
We live in Detroit so the problems of the Big 3 Auto Makers combined with the overall economy, make things really tough here. Property values are at historic lows, and our state has the highest unemployment rate in the nation — right now it’s at 12.9%. We have been in a one-state recession for years and when the housing bubble burst, the rest of the country caught up with us.
I work at the largest community college in the state of Michigan and my wife works for the global trade division of a large Wall Street firm. So while we are affected by the auto industry as a community, personally I am on the opposite end of the crisis. I am seeing more and more people come back to school to improve their skills. In spite of the economy we’re doing fine, we’ve paid off debt (just have our mortgage & student loans to go), and by living within our means we have nearly built up a six-month Emergency Fund.
We are now starting to bulk-cook once a week and have shopping down to once every two weeks (maybe someday we’ll get it down to once-a-month). Your advice NEVER gets old and its needed now more than ever. Jay — Detroit, MI
It’s Never Too Late to Start Budgeting
Your email newsletter articles on Budgeting really changed our lives. We are FINALLY living on a budget and using a budget system that WORKS for our family! Seven children and 21 years of marriage later . . . well, some of us are slow learners. Tim and Janet — Cincinnati, OH
Editors’ Note: Thanks for the encouraging note. It’s never too late to start budgeting and living a freer lifestyle. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your financial situation can be turned around. Setting goals and having a tool to help you reach them is truly rewarding. Keep up the good work.
Hi there, I just wanted to write and let you know I am living and managing on a family budget now!
I feel like a burden has been lifted and I know that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Thank you for your help! I am so to see progress in our finances as a family! You are truly a blessing! Tara – Alaska
I can honestly say I feel motivated and confident in taking control of our finances after reading the book. This will be our first full month in using the new budget and stewardship/money tracker worksheets. When I was setting up the budget and figuring how much we spent on groceries and fuel each month I was in shock! My husband couldn’t believe it either.
I am confident that with your budget plan and your book guidance that we can do this. I feel like we have more control and know where our money goes each month. It’s so much easier for me to see where I’m spending too much and with the Stewardship worksheets, I can see how much I have left each week to spend in that category, instead of spending more and not having enough when it comes time to pay the bills. I’m praying for guidance and self-obedience to put this plan into action every day. I find myself being more aware of what our family is spending, just by writing everything down on these sheets instead of just plugging it into the checkbook.
So, thank you, Steve and Annette. I have shared this “new” budget success concept with my brother who is younger and in much need of financial guidance. Kelly, from Missouri
I know you wrote a great book on kids and money, but here’s our best tip:
We put our 15-year-old in charge of the family finances. Since we homeschool, he’ll get 1/2 a credit for it too. We began by taking him to a free six-week course on money sponsored by a local church. We talked about budgets, credit, tithing, and accountability. Then, we showed him our finance folder:
1) The “master” 2012 budget which lists each category and how much money is allotted each month for each category.
2) Monthly budget sheets to track each individual category
3) Monthly sheets which compare the average spent thus far during the year for each budget category, so we can easily see where we need to cut back or make other changes.
4) List of short, medium, and long-term goals.
5) A small book to record every expenditure every day.
Then, I cut him loose!
For six months, from June to December, he is the “budget guru”. He lists daily expenses according to their individual category, totals them at the end of the month, and makes suggestions for changes. Believe me, he is now fully aware that every penny must be accounted for now that he is actively tracking our money. Money choices are now absolutely REAL to him! It’s more effective than any finance curriculum that I could have bought!
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
COMMENTS About a Child Running a Household Budget
If this is true then it’s truly amazing for a young kid to run a household budget. Though I can say that it’s not far from the truth, as kids today are really intelligent or much more advanced technologically on their age. – Katya W. – Abilene, TX
Hey, this is the age to play games not to learn budget planning. – Joe S. – Cleveland, OH
Editors’ Note: Joe, we agree that kids should have time to play . . . but that shouldn’t be the focus of their total existence. We believe that childhood is the launch pad for adulthood. We aren’t raising perpetual children . . . but we are raising Future Adults who need to be equipped to handle adult responsibilities. Currently, 60% of Parents are supporting their adult children. This is NOT a good thing. Let’s give our kids the opportunity to handle age-appropriate responsibilities.
Thank you to both of you, as you have quite literally changed my life with your advice and America’s Cheapest Family Budget System. I know that seems to be an awfully big statement but here’s why. As of yesterday, I am completely Debt Free (apart from the mortgage which will now be overpaid till its gone). I have paid off nearly £30,000 in debt in the last few years. Since I am a single mum of two, who is working full-time, I didn’t have any knowledge of budgeting or saving until I found your book and had a “light bulb” moment.
I feel so light and free, my money is for our household (my girls and me), not some faceless company. Each month my girls sit with me and we do the budget. This is such a godsend as they can see where the money goes and just because I earn X amount it does not mean i can afford whatever they want that month. This is truly a tool for budget success!
Joyce from London, England
You have inspired my husband and me to live a more frugal lifestyle. A few weeks ago, I picked up your book, America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money and started using your household budget system right away. It’s only been a couple of weeks since we started our budget, but I am amazed at how the money has grown in our bank account.
I have always shopped at thrift and consignment stores for clothes. But now, I have started looking for appliances and furniture that are used. We just picked up a used, working freezer for $30!
We are a young, married couple with a two-year-old daughter, and we only have two debts: a car which we only have $2,500 left to pay off, and our house. I am hoping that since we don’t have a lot of debt, and we are starting the budget, that we can have our house paid for in full by the time we are 33 — ten years from now.
It is a challenge, and I am excited to know that while all of my friends may be driving brand new cars and SUV’s, and wearing the latest thing from Abercrombie and Hollister, that I can find nice, name brand clothes at my local Goodwill, or Gift and Thrift for two or three dollars! And I am proud to say that my two-year-old is the best-dressed child at the daycare where I work — and almost all her clothes were bought at garage sales, Goodwill, or were given to me!
I am so thankful that I found your website, and your book, and wanted you to know what a blessing ya’ll have been to us! Melissa — Shenandoah, VA
We received your books a few months ago. In our excitement, we immediately read them and set up our budget accounts.
We took our first paycheck and divided it into the individual accounts. We already live very frugal lives, but we view money management differently and for the past two decades payday has always been a strained experience for both of us.
Not so this time. Your system is pure common sense and we both felt empowered. Then came living within the system we had created. Easier said than done.
The snow came down hard and we had no savings to get snow tires for my husband’s commuter vehicle. Even though we purchased many used gifts, we still underestimated Christmas expenses by $50 and did not give ourselves enough for holiday food expenses. We were both disappointed by our inability to stay within our projections.
We found it was not a total failure, however. Because we knew where our money was supposed to go, we were able to adjust our spending in other areas to balance the money and our banking account still has a positive balance.
I truly believe we will improve on this system with each new paycheck. And there have been no arguments over the adjustments because we both had a hand in creating the system.
Your budget system is truly simple, but I think we needed to be able to say to each other, “The book says to do it this way.” That allowed both of us to get out of the way of our success.
This has been exactly what both of us wanted. We love your blog, it helps to connect with like-minded consumers who find living within their means a great way of life. Thanks for leading the pack. Vivian
Wow, Vivian, you guys are doing great! You are not failing, you are building a great success and teamwork. Your letter is such an encouragement to us.
Only one month into it and you were just a little short for Christmas – that’s fantastic!
Over time, with the consistent habit of doing your budget every two weeks, you’ll get all of your expenses dialed in. There are always adjustments, but as you do the budget, over time you’ll have more and more precise information and you’ll be prepared for every eventuality (like snow tires and other car repair issues).
We have experienced the same marital “oneness” when we’re looking at the numbers instead of each other. There are fewer arguments and greater unity as you both work toward the same goals.
And when you reach your goals, you’ll have great celebrations too.
Keep going. Several months from now you’ll wonder how you ever lived any other way. FREEDOM is coming!!
Budget Success Complete After New Job
Sybil had read our first book, and with her husband had quickly paid off two large debts and built some savings. Two months later her husband lost his job.
I wanted to update you on our continuing success. My husband quickly found a job, and a better paying one at that. We paid off all of our debt, met and exceeded our financial goals and even planned a trip to Australia in December of this year — of course, we paid cash. I can’t think of anyone who was out of work for two months and was able to do what we’ve done just a few months later. You have changed our lives in so many ways. We are happier, the kids are happier and we can actually do things instead of saying, “NO, we don’t have the money.”
This is because:
A) We are more creative.
B) We have more money now. Sybil – Fort Worth, Tx
Unemployment, Deleting Debt & A New Life
We had been working hard at getting out of debt when my husband quit his job. We had to cut back to just the minimum debt payments for a while and unfortunately accumulated more debt while we struggled to get by. After reading your book, “America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money,” we did many of the things you suggested. We cut out as many non-essentials as possible, had two yard sales, three months apart, and sold other items through the newspaper and word of mouth. Our church and friends helped us out with food and some other expenses. They also bought items at our garage sales.
We both took on temporary jobs to help pay the bills. My husband is a research veterinarian, a somewhat specialized area of vet medicine, and fortunately has a good network of friends and acquaintances in that field. He was able to put the word out that he was job hunting and sent out resumes to a number of medical and pharmaceutical research facilities. Neither of us thought it would take as long as it did to find a new job. (Monster.com is another great way to search for a new job)
Living Through Unemployment
My husband just started back to work after being unemployed for 7 months. It was a big move to go from New York to Utah, but it was good for us because we’re both from California and both of our families live in the west.
This period of unemployment taught us to live a simpler life and save for the unexpected. We’re renting an inexpensive apartment now and are getting out of debt (paying everybody something, while paying the smallest remaining debt off as quickly as possible). We hope to be out of debt for good by summer. We’re both determined to live debt free, to build up our savings and save for retirement. I never again want to live under the financial stress that we have been under for the last several years.
We’ve learned to save money and cut back on many things from reading your book and newsletters. Robin Norlund – Utah
Editors’ Note: We hope this story encourages you to keep on economizing! The little, everyday sacrifices really do pay off.
If you’d like to read about Debt Free Living & Frugal Living, click on the words.
For great books about household finances, click here.
If you want to learn How to Budget Better, click here.
This is a great blog about Families that want to live on one income.