Take The FREE 60-Second Quiz - "What Type Of Side-Hustle/Online Business Is Right For You?"
About Blog Courses FREE Guides Become A Student Login

Do This Before You Budget (It'll Be Easier)

“The slightest adjustments to your daily routines can dramatically alter the outcomes in your life.” – Darren Hardy

"Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant." - P.T. Barnum

"A budget tells us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it." - William Feather


The process of learning how to budget is just frustrating enough, that most people give up before they ever really have a chance to get good at it. I often say, it's just enough like rocket science to make you throw your arms in the air and walk away.

Over the course of 10+ years of coaching people through the twists and turns of personal finance, I've noticed one HUGE reason that causes people to quit before they develop this all-important muscle of budgeting. 

This one thing throws them sideways and scrambles their brains to the point of just walking away and it's actually 100% preventable.

What is this "one thing", you ask? Overwhelm. Overwhelm is the biggest budget-killer of all time.

Do you "get down" with Pinterest? Would you consider pinning this to your favorite board?


How To Crush Overwhelm

In my decade-plus time as a financial coach, I've witnessed that overwhelm is the most cumbersome obstacle for most people when they're going through the process of learning how to budget. Overwhelm is the destroyer of many a budget and financial life and it's sad because its totally conquerable. And, there's one simple mindset trick that beats it every time.

"But how can I conquer this overwhelm", you ask?

Well, the answer is actually two fold:

1. Breaking things down into bite-sized, highly ingestible pieces and

2. Going through what I call the "pre-budgeting" step.

And today we're going to dive deep into this pre-budgeting step as an example of breaking your budgeting learning process down into smaller, more ingestible, less overwhelming pieces. But first, let me buttress in your mind why budgeting is such an important and, I would argue absolutely essential, life skill.


By the way, if you want a downloadable PDF that will guide you through this all-important process, you can get that by clicking here: The Forgotten Budgeting Step (aka "Budget Insurance") Downloadable PDF

OR by clicking the image below:

The Forgotten Budgeting Step


Budgeting Is Pivotally Important

"Why is budgeting success important?", you ask. I'm no statistician, but I can tell you that, every single one of our financial coaching students (hundreds at this point) who have successfully paid off their debt say that it's "IMPOSSIBLE" to do it without a budget.

That's right, all of them bar none, say that it’s NOT POSSIBLE to win with money without living on a budget. No matter how smart we think we might be or how much we “got this”, more often than not, an actual, detailed, written budget will prove us horribly wrong.

SO, that said, setting up the budget and purposefully rewriting it every month, staying on top of expenses, those are incredibly important.

BUT, the one thing that most people miss in this process is the “all important” pre-budgeting step of listing out all of your bills, expenses and debts, organizing them by date and THEN plugging them into the budget.

This one, seemingly “unimportant” step serves the purpose of breaking what can be an incredibly overwhelming process (i.e. learning how to budget) into smaller, bite-sized, more manageable pieces.

So let’s jump into the pivotally important “pre-budgeting stage.


How To “Pre-Budget”  

(i.e. making a list of all bills, expenses and debts)

1. Take a deep breath. Depending on how organized/disorganized you are, this might take more than one sitting.

Don’t worry it’s normal. Rome wasn’t built in a day and MOST of our students don’t remember ALL of their bills, expenses and debts the first time through.

If you’re prone to overwhelm, I highly recommend breaking this exercise into 25 minute time blocks. Here’s a free 25 Minute Time Block Strategy resource that will tell you how to do that.


2. Gather all of your materials including the "Everything I Owe" PDF Worksheet

  • Start by “brainstorming” all of the bills you can remember. The following steps are meant to get the wheels turning and to help you find all the “nooks and crannies”

  • You may want to print off a couple of copies of the "Everything I Owe" PDF Worksheet as you will likely rewrite by “due date” after your 1st draft “brainstorm”. 

  • Also, as a way to “jog” your memory, go ahead and download our Budget PDF Form. The categories may help you to remember things you might otherwise forget.

  • Make sure to include “due dates” with every expense you write down. We’ll organize them by date later in the process. This part is all about “getting it all down on paper”.

  • Gather up all of the following you can:

    • Bank statements and log into all of your online banking accounts.

    • Credit card statements and log into your online accounts.

    • Mortgage/2nd mortgage/HELOC/HOA statements.

    • Car payment stubs 

    • Student  loan statements

    • Personal loan statements 

    • Rental invoices

    • Utility bills (electricity, water, sewer, gas, pest control, internet

    • Insurance invoices (home, car, health, life, disability, identity theft)

    • Car maintenance, oil change receipts.

    • Grocery receipts 

    • Restaurant receipts

    • Gas receipts

    • Travel related expenses

    • Cell phone

    • Medical related expenses (doctor visits, chiropractor, medications, supplements)

    • Irregular expenses like: gifts, back to school, seasonals

    • Miscellaneous… 


Do you "get down" with Pinterest? Would you share this on one of your boards for me?


3. Write them all out in your "Everything I Owe" PDF Worksheet making sure to include the bill due date.

Again, set that timer for 25 minutes if you start to feel overwhelmed and take a break for 5-10 minutes and then get back at it.

Don’t worry, it’s not going to be perfect the first time. Remember, this is just the first draft and it will get more and more accurate the more times you rewrite it (just like budgeting).



Here's a "livestream"  session I did that walks you through this process in the context of the 2020 financial crisis.


4. PRO STEP: Now that you’ve “brainstormed”, go back and rewrite all of your bills, expenses and debts in order of due date and/or write them out on a monthly calendar.

Don't be afraid of rewriting. Rewriting is a hallmark of all steps of the "learning to budget" process. Shun, the "set it and forget it" mindset. It will not serve you.

Instead, resolve that you're going to do "whatever it takes" to become successful at this and I promise you, you will!


5. NOW, you’re ready to put all of those bills, expenses and debts into a written budget.

You can learn more about how to actually budget at this blogpost and/or by watching the video below.


And again, if you want a downloadable PDF of this blog post, you can get that by clicking here: The Forgotten Budgeting Step (aka "Budget Insurance") Downloadable PDF

OR by clicking the image below:

The Forgotten Budgeting Step


Conclusion And Call To Action

So hopefully I've convinced you that adding this pre-budgeting step will dramatically increase your odds of becoming a wildly successful budgeter.

This follows the general principle in personal finance of taking steps to reduce overwhelm by 1) breaking things down into bite-sized, highly ingestible pieces and again, mores specifically 2) going through what I call this pivotal "pre-budgeting" step.

I've also hopefully buttressed in your mind why budgeting is such an important and, I would argue absolutely essential, life skill. If you ever want to win with money, you absolutely have to be on a budget and I want to help you learn how to do that almost more than anything in the world! :)


Call To Action

All of this consumption of content is great, but it's nothing if we don' put it immediately into practice in some way. If you hang out on my platform for any amount of time, you'll see that I'm big on "calls to action". Here's what I want you to do:

Go ahead and download this PDF that will guide you through this all-important process, you can get that by clicking here: The Forgotten Budgeting Step (aka "Budget Insurance") Downloadable PDF

Also, as an ongoing means of supporting your personal finance goals, I want to encourage you to: 

1) subscribe to our YouTube channel for ongoing strategies and encouragement and 

2) go ahead and join Zero Debt Tribe, our private Facebook community  aiming at helping you to connect with others, to get your questions answered and to stay the course.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at: [email protected] when you have questions, need help or just need someone to talk to during this difficult time. We love you, want the best for you and are here for you during this time.

Next, let's talk about how my free and complete system to master your money for good!


You're Well On Your Way To Erasing Your Debt!

 This is the blog post that outlines the 8 steps I followed to eliminated $43,000 in debt in 2.5 years.
And whether this is your first or thousandth time on the blog, I want to make sure you have this “8 Steps” framework that ALL of our content is centered around. 
These are the steps I personally followed to obliterate $43,000+ of debt in 2.5 years
Maybe your number is bigger, maybe it’s smaller. Either way the principles are the same and I want you to have them.
0. Stop All Retirement Investing (Until Step 4)
2. Starter Emergency Fund of $1000
3. Eliminate Debts Smallest To Largest (a.k.a The Debt Snowball)
4. Full Emergency Fund of 3-6+ Months’ Expenses
5. Invest A Minimum of 15% Income Into Retirement Accounts (and increase savings rate to 50%+ if possible)
6. College Funding (if applicable)
7. Pay Off The Home Mortgage
8. Build Wealth, Serve, Be Ridiculously Generous And Go FI (Financial Independence)!
I’ve created a simple, easy to follow guide that you can use as your foundation as you navigate the absolute annihilation of your debt forever. 


My Most Popular Posts

What To Do When You Can't Pay Your Bills - Dave Ramsey's "4 Walls"

18 Expenses You Should Obliterate From Your Budget

How To Start Budgeting When You're Terrible At It

8 Steps To Erase Debt - And Get Your Life Back

9 Things We Do To Save Money Like "The Millionaire Next Door"

7 Budgeting Mistakes We All Make (And How To Correct Them)

What Is Financial Coaching?

$43k Paid Off!

The 4 Most Popular Reasons People Seek Financial Coaching

When Is It Okay To Say "I Can't Afford It"

How To Get Your $1000 Emergency Fund - Fast!

12 Things We Don't Spend Money On

How To Be Financially Prepared For The Coming Recession

11 Irregular Expenses You Probably Forgot To Budget

4 Not-So-Obvious To Rewrite Your Budget Every Month

12 Things You Should Buy At The Dollar Store And 5 You Shouldn't


When You Need More Help

And again, if you’re looking for some resources to get started, you can download our free budgeting forms. Also, if you’re in a place where you’re ready to kick your debt in the teeth, here's the link to our free “8 Steps To Erase Debt” guide for you to use as your foundation.
To your freedom,

This page may contain affiliate links, which means Zero Debt Coach will receive a small percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links. You will pay the same price for the products and services, and your purchase will help keep this website up and running. I only recommend products and services I know and love on this site. Thank you so much for your support!

zerodebtcoach.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Read my full disclosure policy.

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.