Budgeting Brokeness: How To Develop A Budget

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Creating a budget was worth it though!

My budget story is simple. In fact, I think it’s helpful to most of the Broke Black Bougie community.

Why did I start budgeting?

This may be long post so please bare with me.

My first understanding of money was when I 16. I received my first job as a media assistant working for my local television station.

My first check was a stipend of $2,000 split into four checks for the months of July and August. So, I received $500.00 bi-weekly until my last check.

I always was told “save your money cook” (Cook is short for Cookie my childhood nickname btw) but, no one laid the financial guidance for me to develop a savings.

Whatever money entered my savings it popped right out into my checking for spending. With no bills at the time, I splurged my funds on food, clothes, notebooks (my guilty pleasure), and supporting my household #THEJOYSOFBEINBROKEYOUNGANDBLACK.

Most of my bad habits derived from family members who also had an unhealthy relationship with money. We lived paycheck to paycheck, suffered from food insecurity and lacked a stable concrete foundation of planning, budgeting and execution with our money.

Going to college in my hometown was a smart move for a student who wasn’t yet prepared nor financially literate to survive on her own. For instance, in undergrad I ended up filing for not 1, not 2, but 3 sources of credit for “emergencies” and to assist my family. Thankfully, the total line of credit combined for these cards was $3,300. Although this number is extremely low, as a college student making roughly only $200.00 every other check, with a phone bill and needing access to funds THIS. WAS. NOT. A. SMART. MOVE.

In fact, in my junior year of college I hit a mild level depression because my finances were out of wack. My credit score looked wack,and my self-esteem/confidence dragged because I was not where I wanted to be: financially, physically and emotionally! Being broke can have a traumatic impact on your health. 

When senior year came, I realized how UNPREPARED I was for my next chapter. I realized my savings  was non-existent and my goals were unclear. What worried me the most was that I still didn’t have any financial clarity living in a financially cluttered space. However, I knew a few things:

1. There is a life that exists outside living paycheck to paycheck. 
2. I don’t have to live a life as an adult the same way I grew up. #BROKEAF
3. Broke language can really take a toll on your well being and financial development.
4. It was time to get real with the question: Why Am I Broke?
5. It was time to find a solution to that question. 

Leaving for grad school I knew I had to get some things in order and reorganize my financial goals. Fall semester was a struggle for me but, this semester I truly began to get a grasp on my finances and future goals! My financial freedom starts with budgeting!

*I will provide you with the template I use at the end of this post.

I started to map out all ALL MY EXPENSES (every single thing I spend my money on). Then, I started to map out my INCOME, DEBTS, and DREAMS. After doing that I was really able to check myself and concluded:

1. A little $7.00 meal here and there adds up! 
2. I really don’t have much sh*t I need to spend my money on.
3. I have wiggle room to build a financial cushion and can work towards creating a savings fund for life’s unexpected curve balls.

In creating my budget, I used a template from Google Drive and tailored it towards my Broke Black Bougie needs. Then, I pulled my credit report to see all my debts (very few believe it or not) and set goals for the bills I can work on for the first half of the year. I have a few small student loans that can be paid off. I also will be eliminating the rest of my credit card debt this year! #HAPPPPPPPPYCAMPER

If you are budgeting brokeness the best piece of advice I can give to folks living Brokeland is to get real with what’s in your wallet and your financial situation. Yes, sometimes a great heart might lead you to make an unhealthy financial sacrifice but, remember it will be you in the end who takes the tab! Yes. You might think that you're putting your credit card to good use but think again. There's nothing wrong in having an honest assessment with your finances. It feels good to start fresh with  new a perspective and to start a journey towards building a healthy relationship with money.

Just think about this: It feels good to not have anxiety over a unpaid bill, to have money in your savings account and to have funds lasting you past your next pay period!

I’m starting to educate myself more on personal finance and starting to think critically about my financial freedom as a Black woman. Yes, I know that I'm only 22 but, I rather start now than later with creating a cushion for myself.

I hope you’ll return back to see my progress! I intend to have more open discussions and topics about my personal finance journey and expanding my financial literacy. I hope this can help others living #BROKEBLACKBOUGIE

Click here to access my free budget sheet.


  1. Love your blog! Thanks for the budget sheet as well. I have a noteboook to keep track of bills but I will give this a try too.

    1. Thanks so much for stoppping by Tatianah! Hope it can help assist you in your budget organizing!

  2. This is good. I mean really good. At 22 I was living the life......with refund checks. Here I am 5 years later and out of grad school (more refund checks) and I'm like wayment. Is this real life? I have to budget? I have to stay home sometimes to save money? *crys tears and drinks them. Im proud of you! And yes being broke was a huge trigger for my anxiety, but it's all under control....finally.

    1. I'm soooo sorry I saw this late. Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. You give me inspiration!