First published: February 22, 2011 in Household HintsLast Updated: February 22, 2011 9:38 am Tough to read? Print this! Email This
This is what we all want to do – save money. And most of us want to do it without sacrificing a whole lot. But if you are not quite sure where all your money goes – or where it should go – you could just be spinning your wheels and getting frustrated in the process.
Here are some budgeting tips that will help you see things more clearly and help you identify areas where you could improve in your spending patterns – resulting in saving money.
The sure way to save money is to have a budget. It is not always easy to know just how to go about setting your budget – here are some tips:
- Start with making a list of your regular monthly expenses – and make sure you include things like eating out,having some entertainment and some hobbies as well as minimum payments you have to make towards your debts.
- Record the total of your earnings – that means how much you make per months and include any money you get from investments or any other incomes.
- Subtract expenses from earnings and that will show is what – if anything – you have left at the end of each month.
- At this point you will probably be reworking your budget – and that is no unusual. To do that, you will have to go through over each expense and look where you have to make cuts.
- If you have debts, your budget should definitely include minimum payments you need to make each month. But that is not all – you will need to find money to pay those debts down/ So check your numbers again and figure out where you are willing to and can make some sacrifices to eliminate debt. Keep remembering that giving up something is not a permanent situation – when you eliminate the debt, you will have money to use for other purposes.
- Work really hard on building your savings and your investments. To do that, you will need to first set your financial goals. Ask yourself if you have money for an emergency fund, retirement investments, vacation savings, etc. Make a separate list of what you hope to accomplish and then review your budget again to find money you will be able to reach your goals. If you have a lot of debt, you might need to skip this step for a while – abut that’s OK, because eliminating debt needs to take priority.
- Now put your budget to work – and that means living within the boundaries you have set to see how you can handle it.
- At the end of each month, look over the actual and see how they match to your estimates. And do not worry if you need to make adjustments and rework your budget.
Basically – your budget is never finished because it has to reflect your actual spending. So continue reviewing your budget and doing an assessment every single month – it will not take you long to make it all fall into place and you will feel so much better by accomplishing your goals!
How to Make your Budget Worksheet
Expense Worksheet: Not sure where all of your money goes each month? Track your spending with this worksheet, and solve the mystery once and for all:
|Expenses||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5|
cleaning supplies, home repairs, etc.
gas, car repairs, maintenance, etc.
|Clothing & Personal Care
haircuts, beauty products, etc.
eating out, movies, books, magazines, concerts, hobbies, etc.
You can use the Expense Worksheet to create an income version and your planning worksheet and then record all your personal numbers. If there are fields that do not apply to you, simple leave them out. If you need to add some columns or lines, that is no problem either – this needs to be an accurate reflection of your personal information.
More Budgeting Tips:
For certain expenses, like insurance, property taxes, etc. that are not a monthly expense, take the total and divide it by twelve – that will give you monthly amount to record in your monthly budget.
As far as your debts go, record the minimum payments to start with – you will build repayment schedule in the next step.
If you are not sure how much you spend on groceries, eating out or entertainment, start with estimated numbers for the first month and make sure you record actual expenditures on regular basis to be able to adjust your budget.
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