Keeping a budget is good for a number of reasons. It teaches discipline, helps you to see exactly where your money is going and it helps you SAVE.
A lot of trial and error goes into building the perfect budget. You have to find the right balance and decide what works for you and that process takes a lot of adjusting. One thing I learned while creating mine was that it’s going to change from time to time.
Even though budgets will vary person to person I think there are basic steps that everyone should follow.
Here are three easy steps you should take when it comes to building a budget that works!
1. Consider your monthly income
Considering what you make in a month is the absolute first step. It only makes sense to consider what you have to work with before you start making it work for you! Make sure you include your main income as well as any side income that you are expecting for that month.
I know some people may build their budgets over longer periods of time, but I personally prefer to work month by month. This is a lot easier for me because I work freelance projects on the side and often times I don’t know how much I will make in a month until the month actually starts.
2. Subtract your bills
Once you calculate what you will make that month list out all of your monthly expenses. Include rent, car payment, insurance, utilities, etc. List everything you have to pay on a monthly basis. Then subtract that from your monthly income.
monthly income – monthly expenses = monthly budget amount
3. Allocate your money
Now the fun can begin!
With the money you have left over after paying your monthly expenses allocate that money to your monthly needs. Let me explain what I mean by needs, because even I was sadly mistaken about what my needs were when I first started budgeting.
Needs are the basics! These include: gas, groceries (NOT eating out) and public transportation fees. (May vary person to person)
Once you set a budget for those things feel free to use the rest for personal wants such as a night out, shopping, investing, etc.
Put it in action!
That wasn’t so hard was it? Taking 15 minutes to plan your expenses for the month can save you a lot in the long run. Living within your means and taking control of what you spend will help you have power over your money and ensure it’s not the other way around.
Another thing I would recommend is downloading Dave Ramsey’s “EveryDollar” budgeting app. This app is free to use, but you can upgrade to EveryDollar Pro for an annual fee of $129. Here is a link to a 15 day free trial if you are interested.
The upgrade is convenient because it can connect directly to your bank account. It also comes with some helpful tools such as Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and email support. I currently use the free option since I am trying to live on a tight budget. I don’t need any extra expenses if I can help it!
EveryDollar is a great way to track every expense that you make so that you can see exactly how much you are spending each month on the items you are budgeting for. It really comes in handy with the money you give yourself for monthly fun! You may realize you’re spending too much in some areas. (I know I did.)
I hope these tips tips were helpful and give you a good start to building a budget that works for you.
If you have any advice you would like to add or you liked what you read feel free to leave a comment below and subscribe!