Steps to help you make, and keep a budget

Budgeting isn’t fun, and the very idea of it has discouraged most of us from even trying. However, having and following a budget is essential for our future, and easy when you know how to do it. Savings offer both instant, and long term rewards. Whether you already have a budget that isn’t working out for you, or you’re looking to start as a beginner, there’s no better time than the present to create a budget for you and your family.


– Your first step should be to prioritize. Depending on your age, career, lifestyle and other contributing factors, you may find some areas of the budget more important than others. For example, adults will find retirement planning much more crucial, where as individuals straight from college may be focused on paying off student loans. For this reason, this should be your first step. Determine how and where you’ll be dividing your money, such as with a savings, retirement fund, vacation fund, credit and other debts etc.


– Your next step should involve solid numbers. Collect the information you need, and make some concrete numbers you’ll be working. Begin with summing up your income, including your salary and any other money you receive on a strict monthly basis. Then, compare this with your average monthly expenses, including bills, rent, living expenses etc. Not all bills will be consistent, which means you’ll have to estimate and over shoot to be sure.


– Once you’ve worked out the concrete basics, you can start figuring out how to cut back and have more available at the end of each month. The easiest way to is to determine what unnecessary spending you do every month, which can be documented easily by using a debt card for all purchases, and avoiding cash. Having a paper trail to look at makes it obvious as to just how much you’re spending on coffee, snacks, and other expenses you could be avoiding. This can also involve calling your credit card companies and asking for fees to be waved, or other money saving techniques.


– Once you’ve determined how much money you have left over after expenses, you can determine how much you will set aside in a savings. If you don’t already have a savings, it’s advised you begin with an emergency fund. This is a savings everyone should have, and should contain several thousand that must be left untouched. An emergency may be unexpected auto repair bills, medical bills, etc. These funds can be used to help you keep your budget on track, and should be replenished as soon as possible.


– Sticking to your budget is much harder than starting one, which is why it’s important we take the time and effort to see it through. The best way to do this is to document all your spending and income, and always contribute to your savings funds every month. Always be looking for ways to save, whether it’s buying food on sale, or walking rather than driving as often as possible.

This post was authored by Holly Adams, who works for Coupon Croc. Check them out for discount codes on more than 2,000 stores.