Planning out a budget (and then actually sticking to it) is one of the hardest, but most important, tasks you can do for your financial wellbeing.
Nobody actually likes being on a budget (well, I’m sure some folks out there do, but I’ve never met them…). However, creating a useful budget can be pretty easy if you have a good resource. With the tools in this article, you can create a starter budget in under 10 minutes!
Step 1: Go find a pay stub, or at least know how much money you make per month.
Step 2: Print out the chart below and fill it in.
Step 3: Track your expenses for a month and see how you’re doing.
- • If you EARN MORE THAN YOU SPEND… Good For You! You are doing great! Build up your savings and reach out to a financial planner to help with investing strategies. Keep up the good work.
- • If you SPEND MORE THAN YOU EARN… you have some work to do. You’re building up debt or cutting into money you have already saved… and that must stop!
- First figure out where you are overspending, then think up some ways to save in those areas. Spending too much eating out? Plan your meals out ahead of time around the sales at your local supermarket so you always have food at home. Is entertainment eating up too much of your cash? Try putting your “fun money” for the month in an envelope. Once it’s gone… no more paying for entertainment! Instead, visit the library to borrow movies, play board games with your friends, or visit local parks and playgrounds for free.
Have budgeting tips you’d like to share? Let us know about them in the comments!
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So where did we get these suggested percentages? The federal government keeps statistics on household spending every year. The percentages above are based on the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Spending Survey. Interestingly enough, the survey did not include information specifically about savings or debt reduction. We assume they were included in the Miscellaneous category. But, since we believe everyone should have savings and debt reduction as primary goals, we created a separate category for them in our budget.
EVERYTHING you spend will fit into one of the above categories. Here are some examples to help guide you:
- • Housing: Rent, mortgage, utilities, lawn care, home repair, home décor, banking expenses, anything involved in the running of your household
- • Transportation: car payment, gas, maintenance, tolls, bus fare, taxi fare, etc
- • Personal Care: haircuts, manicures, gym membership, vitamins, etc
- • Education: dance classes, karate, school trips, school supplies, tuition, tutoring, soccer fees, etc.
If you have any questions, please give us a call at 770-952-5168 or contact us online.
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This information is intended for informational and educational purposes only and not as legal advice. If you have concerns about your credit report, harassment, identity theft, illegal collections activity, garnishments, or property liens, you should consult an attorney who specializes in consumer rights and defense.