Hey there. Ashley here!
Today, I want to share some of my thoughts with you on budgeting, and why I created The Budget Notebook in the first place. If you’re new to the site, feel free to take a look around to see what this little budgeting tool is all about, but let’s get into the good stuff here.
My first few years out of college, I was just living paycheck to paycheck, not sure why I was running out of money at the end of each two week pay period. I just figured this was how all people were living and it was no big deal. I lived this same way for years into my career as a graphic designer in the corporate world, and man do I wish I knew then what I know now. I would have been saving so much money, instead of wasting it.
Finally, around the age of 27, something clicked. I actually think I may have been browsing one of my favorite sites, The Everygirl, and came across a money topic blog post. I realized I had no clue what I was doing with my money even in my late twenties and I wanted to change that. I was making a solid salary, paying my bills on time (because I’m super picky about that, thanks Mom and Dad!), but I wasn’t saving anything and I certainly wasn’t being mindful about where my spending cash was going.
So, in comes a pretty little Rifle Paper Co. notebook that my cousin Lindsay gifted me as a bridesmaid. I took it out and started drawing the lines and columns for what is now The Budget Notebook in my shop. I created a layout that I thought would work well to track my bills and debt payments every 2 weeks when I got paid. That’s when it really clicked that a budget was not just tracking what I was already doing. It needed to happen BEFORE I spent the money and before anything was due. A budget is a plan, not a record. These are two totally different things.
After a few pay periods of testing out the budget layout and making changes where needed, the peace and excitement (yes, these things can exist together in the budgeting world) I felt when every payday was approaching was crazy. I had never felt this way about money before. It was a whole new world of confidence and pride in how I was handling my money as a twenty-something career girl. I finally had a handle on this finance thing and I wanted to share it with the world! I knew other women out there were needing a place to plan out their finances as well, and I wanted to make it a beautiful place, not a boring, stuffy one.
Then the Googling began. I needed to find the best papers and the best printing I could. Once I found the place that was going to print The Budget Notebooks for me, I designed everything myself and took a chance on my first order of 100 to put in my little Etsy shop at the time. I started telling friends and family about it, and changed my personal Instagram account, that had 130 followers at the time, to a business account that now has over 20,000 followers. It probably took me about 6 months to sell those original 100 books. But once people got the product into their hands and started using it, they fell in love. They told their friends and started chatting with me on social media about the ways it was changing their lives too! I was on cloud 9 you guys. That one idea turned me into an entrepreneur. It not only changed my financial life personally, but it made me realize that creating products that truly help others succeed, was real happiness for my soul.
I was still working my corporate job as a creative director at this point in 2014, and by the end of April 2015, I was walking out (with a month’s notice of course) of that job and into my brand, Ashley Shelly, full time from home. On May 1, 2015, I became my own boss. And now, 2 years and thousands of Budget Notebooks later, plus some gorgeous planners and other goodies, I’m more in love with this life than ever.
If you want to try out one of my pride-and-joy creations, you can shop here.
Thank you for being a part of this amazing journey I am on, and I hope your own budgeting journey leads you to success, peace, and true happiness as well. Tell your money what to do, don’t ever let it just surprise you.
(Photography by Sarahdipity Photos)