It is important to create a budget that will allow you to have some flexibility, for the times life happens. There is no reason you can’t fit everything you would like to do in life within your budget; you just have to plan and save.
1. Set your goals - goals are special projects, bills or things that have come up you need to save for, in order to be able to get them done. Make sure when setting your goal, you have given yourself plenty of time to meet these goals.
2. Calculate how much money you earn after taxes for the month - what is your take home amount? Your gross is before any taxes are taken out; so, we are looking for the net, i.e. after taxes are taken out amount.
3. Calculate your expenses - when looking at your expenses you want to list everything; no matter how small, it all adds up in the end. Even your fun time needs to be included; no need to not have a life, lol.
4. Divide your budget into basic categories - You should have a list of everything that needs to be included in your budget; it should not be more then what you bring home. Putting your expenses into categories will help you determine where you can make changes, and cuts when needed.
5. List your spending for each category - place your expenses into the categories, and what you will spend on each item. This is where adjustments may be needed; we don’t want you to give up your life. However, the fun stuff may be the starting place for budget adjustments.
6. Add up all your spending by categories - Pay attention: this should not be more then you have in your budget. As a matter of fact, this should be a lot less; so, you can have some room for life, when it happens.
7. Decide on a method to keep track of your budget - There are a lot of methods, to keep track of your budget. You just have to figure out which one fits with your life the best. For example, personally I live on my computer, so a spreadsheet works really well for me. You have your phone, computer, even pen and paper. This is a personal choice. Whatever you decide, you should input the info on a regular basis.
8. Set up your ledger - Start your ledger with the current date, and go forward from there. Add a section at the beginning that gives you a summary of your basic budget. Each week or month you will re-access; so, you are not over working your budget.
Remember, if you don’t want to be a starving artist, don’t over work your budget. Leave plenty of funds, for when life hits. Your Net is what you are working from, not the gross; If you can, include money from a savings account; one that will draw a decent amount of interest, for what you put into it. This will be the money you don’t touch, unless life hits. When I say life I don’t mean oh those shoes are cute I want them. I mean my car broke down, my kids don’t have anything to eat, man my girl is sick and we can’t afford the meds. Personally, I make sure to include at least one fun thing, a month we don’t want to burn out. Do something for yourself each month, it keep the burn outs to a minimal.