Rainy-day funds, savings for college, or just making your rent payment can all be made easier with a budget. Although a simple and oftentimes overlooked strategy, budgeting your finances will help make the difference in managing your money. Putting together a household budget requires time and effort. Stock Yards offers the following steps to create a budget:
• Be a Spending Sleuth. Track every penny you spend for a month. Keep receipts and write everything down. This will be an eye-opening experience and will help you see where you can cut back.
• Count Your Money. Determine the total amount of money coming in. Include only your take home pay (your salary minus taxes and deductions). Your income may also include tips, investment income, etc.
• Itemize, Categorize, and Organize. Review the records and receipts you’ve been collecting over the last month. Categorize your spending using a budget sheet. You can utilize the free templates in Microsoft Excel to create a budget sheet that is fit for you and your family.
• Achieve Your Goals. Set a realistic financial goal and develop your budget to achieve that goal. Subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly income. Find ways to cut spending and set limits on things like entertainment expenses.
• Save, Save, Save. Make one of your financial goals to save a certain dollar amount each month. Start an emergency fund if you don’t already have one. You never know when you may need it.
• Stick to it. Keep track of your spending every month. Update your budget as expenses or incomes change. Once you achieve your financial goal, set another.
Resource information provided by American Banker’s Association.