A belated day 5. Get a budget. Now! No, Really.

My apologies for the delayed posts. I took a few days to enjoy the Easter Holiday with the family, and I’m back to writing feeling refreshed, renewed and most of all, saved.

Today’s topic (well, Friday’s actually) is budgeting. We all know we should budget. Most of us even have a rough mental budget. But how many people truly account for every dollar in and out. You must stop and ask each dollar “who are you, and where do you think you’re going?”

It is my theory that once someone has done this for a month–they’ll never go back to winging it again.

Implementing a household budget and reviewing our progress weekly has saved our family $1,500 per month, and we consider ourselves pretty thrifty people.

How to go about making a budget? We began by using Mint.com which we found through the Motley Fool. I’ll tell you about some more budgeting options as the week goes on.

We linked all of our accounts and classified our expenses in Mint. It’s an aggregator, so you only have to link it once, and not a lot of downloading. From that, we could see our past 90 days of spending, and we created a budget from there.

Each month since then we’ve been able to further trim our budget, whacking quite a substantial amount out and paying down our debt at a faster rate than ever before.

I’ve converted a few other folks to using Mint.com and since I tout mint so frequently here, I thought it might be beneficial to hear the praises sung from someone else.

April Stensgard of MomJobSeeker.com says “Mint.com is a very useful site. I love the daily reminders about the status of our budget. Mint.com also pointed out that our bank was charging us $10 for certain online transfers. I didn’t even know about this bank fee until Mint.com discovered it. We brought it up with our banker and have resolved the charges.”

April also offers a few ideas for improvements to Mint: she’d like to print out reports on the budget. I totally agree. I take screen shots and print those, but a printout we could post on the fridge or something would be super.

Kelly Mainard also converted to Mint. She says “Mint.com is a great asset to controlling my finances. I can see where every dollar is going and I can plan in the future. For the first time in my life, I feel as though I have real control of my finances! It’s empowering.”

If those aren’t good enough recommendations to try this yourself, I don’t know what is. Grab your bank statements, put in a movie and sit down with the computer and start working out your budget with Mint.com. An initial investment of 2-3 hours is just about perfect to get mint.com rocking and rolling for you, and beyond that, weekly maintenance of just a few minutes to classify any expenditures. You won’t regret it. I promise.

Just my $.02 for last Friday. More to come later today to catch up for the weekend.