5 Simple Budgeting Steps
Does the sound of the word "budget" make you cringe? Budgeting is often portrayed as an enemy – the bearer of a long and complicated process. Budgeting is an effort, which proves to be effective if you are willing to make a change to your spending habits. Want to create a budget but don’t know where to start? Your friends at Speedy Cash have created 5 easy-to-follow steps to help you create a monthly budget.
1. Track your expenses
The first day of the month is a great time to start your monthly budgeting plan. Start your budget plan by writing down your expenses – yes, every cup of coffee and vending machine snack counts! Using a spreadsheet, or pen and paper, keep a list of your expenses throughout the month to help you identify where your money is going.
2. Categorize your expenses
Once you have a list of your expenses, use different categories to show your necessities. Rent, utility bills, car payments, groceries, entertainment/personal expenses, medical bills, child support, and savings are just a few examples of monthly expenses. Don’t wait to save money until the end – it's possible that you could have no funds left over!
3. Estimate your monthly income
Now, determine your starting balance for the month – what is your checking account balance on the first day of your budget? Then, add ALL of the income you expect to earn for the month to your checking account balance.
4. Compare your spending and income
Once you have an estimate of the amount you’re spending, subtract your total expenses from your total anticipated monthly income (see example below).
How did you do?
A negative number is bad news – you are spending more than you earn. Consider adjusting costs on things like your cellphone plan; is an unlimited plan really necessary?
If the number is zero – congratulations – you have enough to cover all your necessities and expected expenses. However, your goal should be to have a positive number; this means extra money for yourself, savings, or even better – making a larger monthly payment on outstanding debt that you may have.
5. Make adjustments and Repeat
The first couple of times you will find that budgeting will be trial and error, but after a while, you’ll be a budget master! Remember: If you run out of entertainment money, don’t borrow from groceries – identify areas in your budget that can be adjusted to accommodate your needs for the next month.
Good luck from your friends at Speedy Cash!