Have you tried to make a budget before, but found you just couldn’t stick to it? Unless you assess and do the following, your “budget” for spending will simply be a wish list, rather than an action plan!
Here are five budgeting steps you should take immediately to regain control of your finances:
- What Are You Working With?: Write down your average monthly income. If you have an irregular income, calculate this figure based on your monthly income from the last six months. Remember, don’t spend more than you make!
- Living Expenses: Track your daily expenses over the course of a month. Keep receipts and store the information in an Excel spreadsheet or an app. This will show what you need to spend on food, transportation, bills, etc., and where you are potentially overspending!
- Cash-Only: Best way to stay on-budget? Carry and spend only cash, and skip the credit cards. Keep cash in an envelope so that you are extra aware of what you have and the act of spending.
- What Do You Owe?: Once you know how much you truly make, and what your living necessities look like, calculate how much you owe for credit cards, car loans, the mortgage, etc.. This will help you begin to form your debt repayment plan.
- Automate Savings: The major financial benefit of creating a budget comes when you see you now have room to contribute to financial pillars, like your emergency and retirement fund. You can now automate transfers into your savings accounts with confidence!
The word of the day is “frugal”! However, it also does you no good to create a budget so Spartan you can’t realistically follow it. And don’t forget to budget your time! These steps take focus, patience, and dedication.