There are thousands of articles, tips, tricks, and guides to thorough and complete budgeting. Some of them are pages and pages long and involve complicated accounting and calculations. Percentages, fractions, who needs them?
- First take a look at your income. Make a list of all the sources of money coming in and total them.
- Next make a list of your expenses and total them. Try to list everything and anything you might need money for on a monthly basis. Don’t forget the little things like gas for your car or lunches at work. You might also want to make a list of bigger items you have to pay on a less frequent basis, such as water bills paid every 3 months, new clothes, school supplies, etc, and divide the total cost by the number of months (i.e. take an average water bill and divide by three to get a per month cost). Be honest about where you are spending your money!
- You will need to prioritize your expenses and see which ones you do not need. Do this until you not only break even but also have a little spending money.
- Sometimes no matter how hard you try you will find you have more expenses than income. In this case you will need to stagger your bills pay some on the beginning of the month and others in the middle or end of the month. In this way you will not be paying a huge amount out of one paycheck and should be able to bear more expenses. While rent is almost always due the first of the month, other large expenses like electricity/gas bills and car insurance can be moved around. If you pay one bill each week, you will find you have more left over.
- Dedicate yourself to keeping to the budget for a full 3 months. This isn’t a long time, but it is long enough to get a feel for how the budget is working for you. Don’t give up on it too quickly, but if 3 months comes and goes and you are still struggling it might be time to sit back down and take a second look. Widen and narrow where you need to.
- Don’t forget there are lots of resources for tracking money, whether it be a check register, website, or mobile phone app. Utilitize all the tools you can find to help you make the best budget possible.