Budgeting Life Hack

What Is A Budget? A budget is a spending plan that includes everything you will spend money on.  A good budget is a spending plan that includes everything you will spend money on and stays within your income.  A wise budget includes everything you will spend money on, savings for a 'rainy day', savings for large purchases, giving, savings for kids, and investment for retirement and still stays within your income.  I suspect the wise budget is a bit over the top for you if you're new to budgeting.  Caution!  No matter how detailed your spending plan is, if it does not include everything you spend money on, or, if it does not address where you will get the money to cover all your expenses, it is not a budget.  These Personal Finance Books may help you plan your money and execute your plan.
Why Budget?  I suspect you already know why or you wouldn't be reading this.  If we don't budget, we lose control of our expenses and can't even figure out where the money went.  Worse, yet...we can't figure out where we'll get the money to cover that big bill we forgot was coming.  If you have trouble committing to or staying within a budget, take a look at Compulsive Shopping Addiction.

Tips On Budgeting:

Budgeting Tip 1:  Get the whole picture.  Start by collecting all checking account and credit card statements for the last year.  Collect all cash receipts for the last month (or next month if you don't do this).  Don't forget cash spent on co-payments, mocha's, haircuts, etc.  Now collect all receipts for financial contributions to charity, including Girl Scout cookies, etc.  Collect all pay stubs, deposit receipts, etc.
Budgeting Tip 2:  Record the whole picture.  Use all the stuff you collected to record a 'picture' of what you spent last year (use a pencil and have a big eraser on hand.  You can print and use our Family Budget Worksheet to make this job easier.  Don't be surprised if this takes a lot of time with a calculator and scratch paper.
Budgeting Tip 3:  Check off the lines on your documents as you account for them in a budget item.  That way you don't put the same thing in more than one item and you don't forget anything.
Budgeting Tip 4:  Formulas:
    Convert regular weekly pay to monthly:  Weekly Pay x 4.333 = Monthly Pay
    Convert bi-weekly pay to monthly:  Bi-Weekly Pay x 2.167 = Monthly Pay
    Convert annual totals to monthly amounts by dividing the total by 12.
Budgeting Tip 5:  The Family Bills For Monthly Expenses part of the Worksheet is just for regular monthly bills, savings and investment.  If insurance, for instance, is billed monthly, it would go here.
Budgeting Tip 6:  If the insurance, however, is billed less often than monthly, the total annual amount would be divided by 12, and that number would be listed in the Impound Budget For Non-Monthly Expenses.  Don't forget to list the month it's due to be paid.  This 'Impound' section is a powerful and unique tool to save monthly for all your annual expenses and avoid those nasty surprises.
Budgeting Tip 7:  Include everything you regularly pay cash for in the Cash Budget-Monthly section.
Budgeting Tip 8:  After you total everything, you may be surprised to discover your expenses are larger than your income.  This is normal, I'm sad to say.  The amount your expenses exceed your income is the amount you add to your credit cards and other consumer credit balances every month.  Note:  When I did this the first time I discovered I was spending $ 250 more than my income each month.  If your income is larger than your expenses, the difference is the amount you can add to savings, etc.
Budgeting Tip 9:  Review your budget worksheet to see if you can spot any errors, to try and find areas where you feel your spending is excessive, and to consider if any expenses (maintenance, insurance, taxes, etc.) will increase over the next year...make necessary adjustments and re-total.
Budgeting Tip 10:  Make sure you keep a savings balance for a "rainy day" that matches 6 months of your net income.  After you've accumulated that, you can begin investing and buying some of those things you just want.
Budgeting Tip 11:  Giving or donating is as important as paying a bill.  Give this a try!  You should have an amount designated on your family budget for giving.  Even if you don't take part in a regular charity or church giving program, make giving part of your budget.  There is a great deal of evidence, from 2,900 years ago right up to the present, that what you give comes back to you multiplied.  Do it for a year and see what happens.

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7 comments:

imnotabot said...

thx alot for the tips! will use to cut back!

ebm93 said...

Thanks for the advice. I must put this in practice.

Looking Forward said...

These are actually very useful tips. Thanks so much ^^

mac-and-me said...

some tips i can really use

mike witit said...

Hmm. Legitimately helpful. Nice post, seriously. followed.

Alexander said...

Those savings must really add up, thanks

ERIK said...

Just got a house, this is perfect!

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