When it comes to making up a monthly budget plan, don’t over think it. Unless you own a business or have a lot of investment income, your budget will be fairly simple to create. You can invest in software programs to help you out or you can just grab some lined paper and a pencil. It’s totally up to you. Either way will be effective as long as you make sure you enter everything. If you forget to enter some things your budget will not be accurate no matter how great of a planner you have.
Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to making a realistic budget. You need to accurately record all of your income as well as everything you spend your money on. This may sound overwhelming but it’s not, just as long as you make a point of adding your expenditures daily or weekly so that they don’t pile up.
Step one to creating your budget is to determine all the income that is coming into the household. Make sure you include anything that can be used for the household bills such as alimony or child support payments.
Step two is to make a list (be very detailed) of everything you spend your money on monthly. Make sure you include the amount of money you spend for dining out, clothes, hair care, pet bills, etc. Even though you may not spend this money every single month, you still need to include it in your budget. The best way to do that is to go back over the last year and figure out how much you’ve spent in each of these categories over the course of a year, then you can divide that number by 12 which will let you know how much you should budget per month so that when you do need to buy clothes or take your dog to the vet, you have the money set aside for it.
Once you’ve got all your expenses written out and all your income written out it’s time to go to step three: find out your bottom line. This is the time where you subtract your expenditures from your income and hope the number you come up with is a positive one. If it is, that means you are living within your means and that you aren’t spending more than you make…. yea!
If, on the other hand, you’re like so many people today who find that number is a negative one, which indicates that you are living beyond your means and spending more than you make, (probably with the use of credit cards) you need to make some serious changes right away. Living like this will catch up with you at some point and when it does it’s going to be painful.
If you’re ‘in the hole’ just look back over the money you’ve been spending, more than likely you can find some areas where you can cut back and /or save some money.
The first step to true financial security is to live within your means and invest and save money. In order to do that you need to start with a monthly budget plan, and now you know just how to do that!