One of the most important things that a person must do is budgeting. Whether you’re single, just started your married life or a parent with kids, you need to manage your budget to prevent towering debts or ending up broke. This may be scary to some but there are ways on how to create a simple monthly budget.
If you make a budget to follow for the month, you can be assured that you can pay for your bills, save some money for the future and still be able to spend some for your wants. By following these steps, you will be able to easily manage your hard earned money.
10. Keep Track of Your Spending for a Month
Before you can create a simple monthly budget, you need to first determine how you usually spend your money. This includes your bills like electricity, rent and phone bills, as well as expenses for foods, entertainment, transportation, etc. Take note of all your spending within a month. This will give you a basis on how you can create a working budget for the following month.
9. Think of an Attainable Goal
Savings should be included on your budget. You should allot a certain amount of your monthly income for savings. Some people save some money then use it when they see an item on sale that they want to purchase. If you are saving money to achieve a certain goal, it will be easier to stick to it. It will not be too difficult to resist the temptation of spending the money since you are saving it for something. It should be attainable so you can look forward to making it happen. Even if you wish to start a multi-million company, if can only afford to save a small amount per month, it may take you forever to make this happen. This may not be a good motivation. But if you know that it is possible to achieve it within a specific period of time, then you can put your heart into it.
8. Choose Tools for Budgeting
A budgeting program can be used on your computer for this. You may also use Microsoft Excel for creating your budget. If you are more comfortable with using the usual paper and pen, that would not be a problem. The most important thing is that you do it using the way that is easy for you to understand.
7. Make Categories
Categorize your expenses. This will make it easier for you to list down specific things that you need to pay or purchase. This will also give you an idea on how you spend on each of the list and make it more convenient to make adjustments later on. Some of the categories that you can use are house bills, auto, food, entertainment and savings.
6. List Down Expenses
You can use the notes that you have taken the other month for your expenses. List them down based on the categories. For instance, under house bills you may place house rent, phone bill, electric bill and water bill. Add the amount that you spend on each category.
5. Do the Math
Add all the expenses on each category. Subtract the total amount from your monthly net income or your take home pay. If the result turns negative or you do not have enough room for other extra expenses, this is the time to make adjustments. Consider which of your expenses are the most important and which of them you could give up or adjust. Expenses under the house category like house rent, electric, phone and water bills are important since you need them for your everyday living. Basic food needs and grocery items are also important. Your budget on snacks and entertainment on the other hand can be adjusted since you can still live comfortably without them. But you don’t have to completely remove them from your budget since you would also want to reward yourself for your hard work. You may limit them and stick to a strict budget so you don’t have to sacrifice the other more important expenses.
4. Pay Bills Immediately
To prevent yourself from being tempted to make use of the money that are intended for your bills, pay them as soon as you have the money. You don’t really have to wait for the due date to pay, as you can always pay ahead of that. Some people make use of the money that they should spend for their house bills when they find something that they want to buy. This could completely ruin the budget.
3. Shop Once A Week
List all the things that you need to purchase for your home including food supplies and other home products. Shopping once a week will not only save you time and energy, but it will also save gasoline for your car, which can be an added savings on your budget. There may be items that are on sale. However, it is best to stick on your list. After all, these are the items that you really need. If you are thinking of buying a specific item that is not your list, think several times before deciding to purchase it. Is it really needed or is it just a want. If it is a need, consult your budget list and see which of the items you can adjust in order to accommodate for the item you wish to purchase. If you are planning to go out for a movie night, you may give that up and spend the money for the item. You may enjoy watching a DVD at home instead.
2. Save Money
After paying your bills and purchasing all your needs, save at least 10% of the remaining money. No matter how small it is, the amount will add up in the long run. Even if you do not have much spare money to use for entertainment, the most important thing is that you were able to pay all the needed expenses, you have all your needs and you were able to save. You can always find a reward for yourself that is within your budget. You should not spend more than what you have.
1. Make Adjustments
Don’t expect it to be perfect for the first time. If it turns out good then that’s better. If not, you can always make some adjustments to make it work on the next month until you perfect your budget.
Once you get used to it, creating a simple monthly budget that you can stick with would be easier for you. This will help a lot in keeping your expenses under control, while saving money for your future.