10 Steps to Creating a Budget that works for You!
Today we will talk about what it really takes to create and start a budget. A budget is a necessary part of your life whether you make $10 an hour or $100k+ a year. If you don’t know where your money is going then you will no doubt have financial issues. If not now, then soon! Read my own personal realization that I needed a budget here. The thing is, that no matter how much money we make, most of us live beyond our means. So, how do you know if you are living beyond your means? Create a budget! Follow these steps for a simple and easy way to create a budget when you don’t know where to start.
- Have the Desire. – If you don’t have the desire to create a budget, save money, and get on the path to financial freedom then you won’t change your habits. Which is what leads to our financial problems, bad habits! If we can’t break our bad habits, then we constantly make the same mistakes and it will be a never ending circle of mistake after mistake.
- Make the commitment– Once you have the desire, now comes the commitment. If you have a partner, make sure they are just as committed as you are. Write down your financial goals. What do you plan to accomplish in the next year, two years, five? Get on the same page and NOW! This will not work if you aren’t ready to really take a look at what you are spending and make some sacrifices. Believe me, there will be sacrifices. Once you are ready for the commitment, move onto the next step.
- Get a copy of your credit report– Let’s start by getting a copy of your credit report. There are three major credit reports, and they are Exeprian, Equifax, and Transunion. By going here, you can get a copy of your credit report, for free, once a year. This will not give you your FICO score, but will give you an overview of your credit report. Review this every year, on detail. Make sure that every account you actually have open. If you have collections, make sure they are accurate. If not, you can dispute directly through the website. If there is a discrepancy, then it will be removed from your report! Score!
- Review your accounts– Look at your bank accounts and your credit card statements. Do you have anything coming out automatically? Write those down. Add up any recurring expenses, clothes, food, gas, etc.
- Add up your monthly expenses– What do you pay each month for your mortgage or rent? Utilities? Food? Transportation? Childcare? Add all of these up. For me, it helps to write my expenses down on a monthly calendar so I can see when the bills come out every month. I have a planner that you can get at the Dollar Store, Target, Walmart etc. I learned this from my mother, and I write down on the calendar the exact due date of every bill. Late fees can cost you hundreds of dollars a month!
- What is coming in?– What do you bring in every month? Do you get paid weekly? Biweekly? Monthly? Write it down on your monthly calendar. This way you know what’s coming in every month. Let’s add up our expenses and the monthly income. Is one higher than the other? If your expenses are higher than your actual income coming in, then you most definitely need to take a look at your spending and see where you can cut back. Do you spend a lot of money on cable or internet? See if you can cut back there. See if you can lower your grocery bill. A lot of companies will give you a discount on your phone, cable or internet if you simply call and ask!
- Don’t be afraid to ask– Call every single one of your monthly expenses and see if you can get a discount. Have you been a customer for a while? See if they can refund any deposits that you may have given them. Ask what can be done for you. I promise you will get something from someone! When we went through our struggle, I called my cable company and instead of cancelling it completely and paying the $300+ fee to cancel, they turned off my service and had me pay $9 a month until my contract was up. I ended up saving hundreds of dollars either way you look at it! My electric company gave me a credit based off how many people were in the house and the income coming in. There are programs out there to help you get back on track. Work it!
- Find some extra cash– This can be hard if you don’t know where to look. Many people have hundreds, even thousands of dollars in extra cash just laying around the house! With the addition of new apps like OfferUp, and groups in Facebook you can sell household items that are collecting dust, or baby items that your little ones have outgrown. You can also sell outdated electronics, clothes that you don’t wear, etc. You would be surprised and what you can sell to help you get ahead! Just look around!
- Try a side hustle– There are so many extra ways to make to money. Some require an investment, and other’s don’t I have tons of friends who have tried MLM’s and had wild success through a small investment. Other’s who have done secret shopping, survey’s, or even taken up second jobs. My husband took on a second job while we were struggling just to make ends meet. Try writing a blog! There are tons of ways to make extra money. You have to want it and you have to look for it!
- Have an “Attitude of Gratitude”– This to me is the most important. Be grateful for everything you have. Even the smallest penny. Wanting more is great. Having goals is the only way to move forward. But you must always be happy with the things that you currently have. Think about what is truly important in your life. Your friends, your family, you significant other, your personal goals, even down to the water you drink, the phone you are scrolling on this second, and the bed you have to sleep in, and the fact that you are blessed enough to be awake this morning. Let your financial goals take a back seat for a moment. I feel that once I truly noticed what was most important, and took the time for the people in my life, for my faith, and so much more, I finally had some clarity in what was truly important. Yes, being financially secure is a major part of being happy, but when you take a step back and look at what you currently have, instead of what you may be struggling with, that is when your priorities are finally clear.
Once you have done all of those steps, you aren’t done! This is a commitment! Keep going! Look at your accounts, daily, weekly, monthly or more! Keep on top of your money and you will be the boss! No more living paycheck to paycheck for you!
I am currently working on a budget checklist and download for you to get started with! Please let me know how you like this post by subscribing and you will be the FIRST to get the checklist! 🙂 Join the community today!