How to Create and Manage a Budget
Talking about having a budget is great but you actually need to put it into action. A budget is an effective way to know what you make each month, what you spend each month, and how to refine it so that you can save more money and spend less frivolously.
There are a number of different methods for creating a budget and how to get on the right track towards financial stability. This will give you an idea of where to start and how to get on the right track with the spending of your money.
Choose a System
People have different methods. You could physically write everything down with a notebook and pen, use a spreadsheet, use free online software, or pay for financial software. But the fact of the matter is that you need to pick a method. Find the one you are most comfortable using and that you will stick with.
Ultimately, the plan is to start putting everything down in writing and to follow the budget that you’ve set. This keeps you in line with your spending and allows you to follow a set plan every month, avoiding those terrible surprises.
Revisit Your Original Budget
After a month on your budget, go back and look at it again. See what you spent and when, then make the necessary adjustments to your budget. If you found you spent way more eating out than you budgeted, this allows you to either increase that budget or try to curb your spending in that area.
Check back with your budget periodically to see how you spend your money. This is a great idea to see not only where your money is going but to manage why it’s going there and how much should really go in that direction.
Take Seasonal Spending into Account
When you formulate a budget, consider months where costs will rise due to the season. Things like Christmas gifts, birthday presents, vacation or back-to-school spending can drastically change your original budget. Planning for these things allows you to adjust the budget that month and not get thrown into disarray.
You can get a good idea of what you’ll spend around those times by looking at years past and adding that into your budget for that month. It helps to keep the surprises to a minimum and keeps your spending on track.