If you decide to create a budget, you’re already on the right track to managing your money. Because not having one leads to overspending. The good news is that it’s never too late to start building your budget. The most important step is getting started.
How exactly do I make a budget?
Start by reviewing your monthly income and monthly expenses. Next, think about your financial goals. And choose a budget that will help you reach those goals. Psst…here’s help with finding the right budget for you.
Slow down. Is there a monthly budget template I can use?
Use this one to plan your spending every month.
And here’s how to break your budget down:
We rounded up a few examples for each section to make building your budget a little easier.
This is your income amount after all the deductions. Like taxes, 401(k) contributions, and insurance premiums.
Hello, side hustle. This portion of your budget is for the extra bucks you bring in every month. If it fluctuates, list the average amount on your budget. Oh, and don’t forget to count alimony, child support, your tax refund — all the money you get besides your paycheck.
This section is for the bills you pay on a regular basis. Think: rent or mortgage, car payments, or your phone bill. And debt repayments.
This includes your insurance premiums, home maintenance costs, or education costs for your family.
These are the expenses that can easily lead to overspending. But your wants are important, too. Because rewarding yourself can help motivate you to stick to your budget. Psst..Yes, you can still eat at your favorite restaurant sometimes. But plan ahead.
How much do you need to save to reach your goals? Here’s where you set aside money for your emergency fund. Or that house you plan on buying in a few years.
Can someone else just do this for me?
If writing it all down feels overwhelming, you can also go with a budgeting app. Some let you create a category for your goals, and technology does all the monitoring. Others let you separate your money into virtual envelopes.
Everyone’s budget is different. But the basic things that go into building one are generally the same. Set your goals and stay on top of your spending, even if it’s through an app.
Skimm’d by Dae Cason, Kamaron McNair, Karell Roxas, Stacy Rapacon, and Alicia Valenski