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How to Write a Monthly Budget That Works

How to Write a Monthly Budget That Works
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If you’re looking to create a spreadsheet with your budget, or just trying to get a better grip on your money management, there are a variety of things that you can do.  Even if budget spreadsheets aren’t what you use, you’ll need to determine where your money is going every month. Creating a template can make you be more in control of your money and let you save for when you need it. It’s all about figuring out a way to track your finances and use a budgeting method that works for you. Here in this article, we’re going to show you some tips on how to write a budget. With our help, you will be well on your way to making the most out of your money.

Noting Down Your Net Income

The first thing you need to do is to see how much money is coming in. It’s fairly easy to overestimate what you think you can afford if you consider your total salary as what you have to spend, so do bear this in mind. Remember to subtract any deduction such as taxes and social security when creating your budget worksheet. The final pay that you take home will be dubbed as your net income and is the number that you should be using to form your budget.

Track All Of Your Spending

It is vital that you categorize and keep track of everything you spend so that you will know where you can make adjustments if necessary. By doing this, you will be able to identify what you’re spending most on and where it will be easy to cut back. Start off by getting together all of your fixed expenses and make a list of them. Things such as rent, regular bills, car payments, and utilities will fit in here. It may be unlikely that you’ll be able to cut back on these, but it’s a great idea to know how much of your monthly income they take up. Next should come all of your variable expenses, i.e. those that are changing on a monthly basis, such as entertainment costs, cost of food and gas. This is a great area to find opportunities to make some budget cutbacks.

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Creating Goals

Right before you begin sifting through all the information you’ve amassed, formulate some clever financial goals which you’d like to accomplish both in the short and long term. After that, stick to your budget goals. As a rule of thumb, your short-term goals should not take more than a year to achieve, whereas longer-term goals such as saving for your child’s college may take many years. Things do change, and so your goals shouldn’t be set in stone, but it’s great to identify your priorities before starting to plan your budget. As an example, it will be a lot easier to cut spending if you’re aware that your short-term goals are to reduce your credit card debts.

Plan

Using your fixed and variable expenses, try to come up with a sense of what you will be spending money on in the following months. By thinking about your fixed expenses, you can accurately assess how much you will be budgeting for. If you’re not too sure about variable expenses, think about past spending habits and what you like to spend your money on to make a prediction. He might even try and break your spending figures down even further between the things that you need and the things that you want. As an example, you’ll probably need money for petrol if you’re driving to work every day, whereas a monthly subscription to a podcast or academic writing service may count as something you want. It’s important to consider these when you’re making adjustments through your budget.

Adjusting Habits

Now that you’ve completed the points above, you’ll have the necessary information you need to complete the rest of your budget. Once you’ve documented all of your spending and income, you can see how much money you’ve got left over, where to make cutbacks and how to manage your money towards your budget goals.

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Think about all the things that you want and what you need. Can you skip on that coffee that you have every day? Try to make adjustments to the numbers that you’ve tracked in order to see how much money can be freed up. If you’re making adjustments to the spending on your wants, evaluate how you can adjust the spending on your needs. As an example, you might pay for car insurance, but perhaps you can find a cheaper quote from another provider?

Finally, if the numbers that you’ve got still aren’t adding up completely, take a look at adjusting all of your fixed costs. This may be a lot more difficult and may require somewhat larger discipline, but you may find that a lot of your needs can actually be foregone. You’ll need to carefully weigh up your options here.

Check-In

Last but not least, make sure that you review all of your budget plans and decisions on a regular basis. You will want to see that you’re staying on track and also you want to compare all of your monthly expenses to people in a similar position to you. You may want to tweak certain aspects of your budget because not everything is set in stone – life changes, you may get a promotion and so you will have a bit more money than before. Whatever the reason may be, don’t forget to keep checking in and follow the steps we’ve discussed on an ongoing basis.

Do you have any tips on how to budget your savings and finances? We’d love to hear from you. Please send us your comments below.

Author Bio: Mollie Porein has over 7 years of experience in money management and the credit business, having worked in the past for some prestigious investment funds. She knows all about how to manage money and currently works as a part-time writer and contributor to many blogs and websites about finances.