Creating a personal budget can be a very daunting task. Budgets can be complicated and confusing, but they don’t have to be. The secret to good budgeting is to create a system that works for you and to stick with it. Here are six easy steps to get you started with your personal budget.
Keep it simple
Trying to get too detailed with your budget can cause confusion quickly. Likewise, if you try to save for ten different vacations at once, you might get tired of it and give up budgeting all together. Look at your current spending and pick one area that you can start to work on to reduce expenditures. This could be paying off a medical debt that you make monthly payments on or it could be cutting down on your morning lattes. Whatever it is, just pick one to concentrate on.
You should be putting money in an account to save for emergencies. This doesn’t have to be a lot of money. Start by putting a small amount in each month and make sure your personal budget reflects the commitment. Having an emergency fund helps you maintain your budget when you have an unexpected expense such as a medical bill or car repairs.
You need a way to keep track of how you spend your money. Knowing how, and where you spend your money will help you make sure you are staying within your personal budget amounts on a regular basis. Keep it simple and stick with it. There are lots of free apps online that you can use to create your budget. Or just using a notebook dedicated to recording your spending can work.
Make sure your partner, roommate, spouse, or other important individuals know you are working on a personal budget. Telling friends and family about your budget goals can help you keep within your spending limits. Getting support from those around you is important and making sure that anyone who has access to your finances is on board with the budget is equally important. You cannot stick to a budget if your spouse is constantly overspending. Make sure to communicate not only the goals but the reasons for creating and maintaining a personal budget.
Don’t just make a personal budget and leave it alone. You have to monitor each week or month to make sure you are following your budget amounts. If you begin to notice an area where you consistently overspend, perhaps you need to take a look at what you’ve budgeted and decide if you need to make an adjustment. Sometimes, you don’t have a lot of room in your budget for cutbacks. In that case, see how you can add funds to your income by taking a part-time job or selling unwanted or unused items.
The most important thing to remember when starting your personal budget journey is to be reasonable. Don’t try to cut out all fun and everything you love all at once. You have to start small and monitor carefully in order to produce a good budgeting habit that will last.