Creating Your First Personal Budget
Why Should I Make a Budget?
This is simple. Having a budget is the foundation to living a financially solid life. So many people fall into debt because they don’t have any idea where their money is going on a regular basis. If you are noticing that you are always low on money and are never carrying any forward from month to month, you really need a budget to lock down your finances.
A budget is going to let you see where every dollar that you earn is being spent. Once you understand how you are spending your money, you can find ways to reduce that spending. This is a simple yet powerful way to ensure you are on solid financial footing.
How Do I Go About Starting a Basic Budget?
This is really straightforward. Feel free to open up your favorite spreadsheet program, or even use a pad of paper and pen.
First, figure out all of your sources of income within the period of a month and add them together to create your total income. It is best to budget on a month to month basis, as most bills are due once within a given month.
Now get together all of your monthly bills as well as receipts. You will have certain expenses each month that are fixed such as rent/mortgage, internet, etc. These are the easiest to track. For expenses such as food and gas, you will have to add these up and come up with a month to month estimate of what you spend.
Finally, take your total income for the month and subtract all of your expenses.
Yes, it’s that simple. You should now have a great idea of how much money you have remaining every month that you haven’t spent. If things are really out of control this number will be in the negative, which would show that you are living well above your means.
This very simple process will allow you to see exactly where your money is going and how you can make adjustments to get yourself to where you want to be financially.