This past year I have taken the time to set up a budget every few months. All my current bills are being paid with no problems now that I know how much I have to spend and how much I do not have to spend. I've stayed within budget pretty well, but am still pretty much paycheck to paycheck at the moment. I have a savings account but have very little in it, and that is my next step. I stumbled upon a website, explaining seven baby steps to finance, and I think I'm pretty much on track to start doing these steps. But back to setting up a budget for now.
Setting up a budget for yourself isn't hard, and more importantly its important to double check it every few months for adjustments. I began doing mine in a notebook on a piece of paper, and setting aside money in envelopes for each category. This is the simplest way to start taking control of your money and here are the steps:
1: Write down your income every month and write it at the top of the page, then on the other side, write down your expenses. Then add them up. If your expenses exceed your income, see where you can adjust. Can you stop some unused or no longer needed subscriptions? Can you get a better rate on insurance? Can you lower your cable or cell phone plan? Can you do with out steak every night and sub in some chicken or pork chops? See where you can cut and then stick to this plan.
2: Get an envelope for each category you have made. House payment, car payment, groceries, phone bill, etc. Write the category on the outside and the amount allowed to spend every month. If you get paid weekly, divide by 4, and put this in the envelope each week, if biweekly, divide by 2. Use this amount and only this amount for that category.
3: Making adjustments. See which 'envelope' you over spend and which ones you under spend and adjust until you are happy. You may have to adjust monthly at first, and when you get the hang of a good budget for you, you won't have to adjust but every three or four months. Continue to see where you can get rid of excess spending and where you can get better rates or payments.
4: Once you get a comfortable system going, you can now start your 'baby steps' to getting your finances in order!
Want to use a spread sheet system instead? I'll explain this in my next post, stay tuned!
While I have been living on my no credit card life style for years now, I have my share of debt like anyone else. No matter who you are or how much you make, life throws curves. The demand of new technology and gadgets are enough to drive you mad, making you spend and spend, never having enough, never saving enough, never paying off debt. Join with me as I pay off student loans, old credit card debts, etc to better my credit, using only cash and a savings account, all the while staying happy and stress free...hopefully!