Want to take control of your finances? Maybe this is one of your New Year resolutions. No matter if it is or not you need to start with a good budget. So here are some things you can do and think about when you’re preparing your budget this year.
List out your debts and bills. We did this by looking through our last month’s statements. I made a list (in excel) with the due date, what the expense is and the minimum payment. This gave us an idea of exactly what bills had to be paid and when.
Cut down your expenses. Now that you know what bills you have, are there any you can cut out? What about the cable? Cell phone bill? Look through your bills and try to reduce as much as you can. This will help you save more if you’re in debt and trying to get out.
Figure out the best way to record your income and spending. We needed to go simple with this because honestly this one is difficult for me if I start to make it too complicated. So I pulled up excel and created a chart I could use. Now you can do this but there are also great programs out there you could use as well. So do a little research and find the one that best fits your needs.
Create your budget. You want your budget to be realistic and now that you know what your bills are it’s easier to see what’s left and what you can afford to spend on things like food, gas and household items. This is where you also need to think about your savings plans (long term and short term).
Speaking of savings, start an emergency savings. Mine is set up at a completely different bank and we only use it for emergencies (like the water heater that went out last year). Dave Ramsey (financial guru) recommends saving $1000 in this account which we found to be a great amount.
Remember your yearly expenses. When you’re going over your budget you need to remember your yearly expenses. That’s things like car registrations, Christmas/Birthday money, etc. You don’t want to find yourself set back and with nothing when that time of year comes.
I hope this helps you guys get started with your budget. Don’t be afraid of it, I know once you have it all set up it will go smoothly and you’ll be on the right path and taking control of your finances! And remember, you’ll probably need to look back over your budget and tweak a few things here and there – that’s ok!