Now that we’ve dealt with tracking your expenses and income, we can get down to business. Grab your income tracker and monthly bills, calculator and anything else you need and work through this post steady and carefully. It’s no secret that in order to take control of your money, you must create a budget. Starting one can make you feel uneasy but with a little time, you will become more comfortable and it will become second nature for you. If you want a true change, you must commit to the process and see a huge change at the end.
MUST HAVE CATEGORIES
There are certain categories you must have in your budget. They may not necessarily be a line item on your form but be sure to include them somewhere in your budget. For this post, I’m going to give you the categories we use in our monthly budget. These categories are the key to keeping our finances on track and should also help you. The categories were a bit broad in the last post but now we are going to get down to the nitty-gritty. Now we have to break each one down into sub-categories and assign them to a fixed or variable line item. I’ve listed must-have items in your budget. Download your MONTHLY BUDGET WORKSHEET now.
These are the items you make to church and charities, and even family members.
I’m a firm believer that you must pay yourself first. After we give our tithes and offerings and before we pay our bills, we put money into our savings account. This is non-negotiable. In order to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, you must pay yourself first! We budget after we put money in our savings, that way we live below our means.
Your savings may include:
- Home purchase fund
- Emergency fund
- Vacation fund
- College fund
- Retirement fund
- Special events (birthdays, anniversary, Christmas)
These are a must-have of course. Your items may include:
- Cable or streaming services
- Phone (house or cell)
This should be pretty easy to understand. Be sure to remember to include savings for other expenses such as repairs and décor items. I would look at expenses from last year and divide that number by 12 to get a rough estimate of what you should budget for. If you don’t need it, it should be transferred to another budget category.
- Property taxes
- HOA fees
- Lawn care
- Housekeeping (my ultimate dream)
This can be a tricky item depending on where you live. I live in Tampa, FL which is not a walking friendly town so I drive my car everywhere which means, I need to budget for gas. Make sure you budget for whatever works for you.
- Car payment
- Uber or Lyft
This is the easiest item. Always list both in your budget.
- Dining out
In order for you to be your best self, you must take care of yourself. You have to make sure to include these items in your budget.
- Health insurance
- Doctors visit
This category can include any and everything because it’s solely based on your needs. I’m a firm believer in practicing self care so this category is a must. Some of the items you can list in your monthly budget are listed below but the items are endless.
- Hair salon visits
- Dry cleaning
- Bookstore purchases
- Gym membership
- School supplies or dues
- Pet care
I love spending money on the things I love. For my sanity, I purpose to make room in our budget for some fun.
- Date nights
- Arts and crafts
- Groupon purchases
- Other hobbies
This is my least favorite categories because I hate paying other people my hard earned money but it’s necessary for now.
- Student loans
- Medical bills
- Home equity lines
- Credit cards
- Unsecured loans
- Personal loans
How to Use Your Budget Worksheet
- Start by filling in the monthly budget amount listing all your fixed expenses. If you don’t remember the exact amount, refer to last month’s bills. I like to round up a dollar or two because electricity can fluctuate at times. If there is any money left over after the new bill comes in, write that in the difference column and be ready to tally it up at the end of your budget sheet. Reminder: If you’ve put yourself on debt repayment plan, set a fixed amount and add it to your fixed expenses.
- Now all you have to go through your budget sheet again and list your variable expenses in pencil. Variable expenses can be recreational, hobbies, groceries, etc. Look at your past bank statements and receipts to get a view of what this looks like. These numbers can be adjusted so make sure you keep your pencil and calculator nearby.
- Once you’re done, add up totals and the numbers at the bottom of your worksheet where your monthly expenses are listed. Doing it this way makes your expenses easier to track.
- Now using your income tracker, write down your monthly income at the bottom of your budget sheet where you see net income.
- Next, subtract your total expenses from your net income and write that number down the difference category.
That’s it. That’s Your Budget
Now it may take a month or two for you to get used to. As long as you keep working and reworking your numbers, it will work out. If the numbers aren’t sustainable, then go back until they are. Budgets are not meant to stay the same that’s why it’s important to create a monthly budget. There’s also nothing wrong with reworking your numbers mid-month. If you have to give up that latte’ to make the gas numbers work, give it up. You’ve made it through the Financial Blueprint for Financial Success!!!
How to Create Your Budget was seen first on Hobbies and Cents.