Whether you have a large family or it’s just yourself paying the bills, there are ways that you can set up a budget and stick to it if you do a little bit of planning. A budget can not only help you plan your expenses each month, it can help you see where your extra money is going if you always feel like you are broke by the end of the month.
The first thing you should start with is deciding on what accounts you have. These would be the amounts that you plan on and the amounts that you actually have to work with. The planned amounts are those that you expect to receive during the month or each week, and actual amounts are what the expenses and income really are during the time period for the budget. Try not to use amounts that are what you wish for as the budget should be something realistic instead of something that you want to happen. After you make your budget and see where all of your extra money is going, you will be able to edit some of the expenses. You should also make your budget easy to see and easy to use. If there are numbers everywhere and you aren’t sure what to look for on the budget, then you probably won’t pay any attention.
Begin by writing down your income. This includes all money from your job as well as any extra money that you know you receive each month like child support or government assistance. If the amount of your income varies each week, then try to be as close as possible to what you expect to make. Next, make a list of all of your expenses. A software program is ideal for planning a budget because you can easily divide everything into columns and rows. When it comes to your expenses, you can get detailed, but it’s best to start with general spending until you see where your money is going. If you tithe, then this would likely be the first thing you set out for each week. Make sure you save money out for debts, like credit cards, and money for your rent or mortgage. Utilities like your electricity and water are next as well as your car payment and insurance. Food can include groceries and any dining out that you do through the month. This is one of the easiest categories where you can cut back on spending as you can see that the cup of coffee in the morning can add up to a good amount each month.
Don’t forget to add in personal items like hair cuts or clothing that you or your children need. School fees should also be included in your budget. Try to put a small amount at least for savings in case there are emergencies that arise.
A budget is an easy way to get your finances in order as long as you follow the plan. If you make a budget and continue to waste money, then there really isn’t a reason to make one.
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