I thought I’d been writing about setting up budgets all along, and finally realized I hadn’t touched upon the subject at all. So, this will be the first true series of posts I’m going to write for this blog. They’re all on budgeting, the steps to take, options, and recommendations. At the end of this series, you should have some basic ideas on how to get yourself at least on track to pay your bills, and possibly out of debt in the long run.

First, what’s my background on this? Many years ago I was out of work for about 18 months. Once I finally started working again, I knew I had to get caught up on a lot of bills. I also knew I had things to deal with such as a car payment, food, etc. I was lucky to still have a car, and I was still in my apartment; it was close, I can honestly say.

So, I sat down one night at the computer and started plotting my strategy for paying on my bills. I had to budget money for food and gas, and no matter what it took, I knew I had to get it done.

I worked out a way to figure out how much I was going to be bringing in with this new job. I figured out what I owed on a monthly basis. I came to a figure that was somewhat scary. I was left with $50 a month for food and gas; that wasn’t going to get it done. I knew I had to get a part time job, and I did, working at a gas station 2 nights a week and all day Saturdays.

That did it. Even though the gas station job was only 5 cents above minimum, I worked enough hours so that I had food and gas money. I started paying on my bills, and made deals with my creditors that put me in good standing with them if I made six months worth of payments, lower payments for some of them. I got my financial life in order, and I was a happy guy.

I then started doing it for some friends of mine who were in similar situations. Later on, I started charging people to do it for them. Helping others budget their money isn’t a full time career for me, but it’s something I’m not bad at, and if people listen, I can help them out. I helped one of my friends get her checking account from -43 cents (talk about scary) to around $1,300 in the first year. We only made one change, that being she had to get a part time job to help supplement her “fun” money (yeah, food and gas was classified as fun money), but I also budgeted a small amount for Christmas gifts, which she hadn’t given in years.

So, I feel I’m qualified to talk about this issue. I won’t be telling you anything that you might not be able to get from other places. I only hope to make it easier for you to understand. Whether this is a daily series or an every other day series, or however I do it, depends on the financial news of the day. It might mean multiple posts on a day, or I push a post back. Either way, it’s going to be a series that I hope helps you get your personal finances in order.