The key to a successful monthly budget is organization. Don’t just pay the bills, go shopping and cross your fingers. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and plot your path to money in the bank. If you stay focused on your spending habits, you will have money left over at the end of the month.
Write down your total monthly income. Include all sources of revenue. The next step is to list your monthly payments. These are the bills that have to be paid. Your list should include rent/mortgage, insurance payments and all utilities and credit card payments. Make sure nothing is omitted from this list. You do not want any surprises at the end of the month.
Once you have your income and expenses charted, make another column for tracking every purchase you make during the month. This is the column that you will have to take a close look at. You will find holes that you can plug and unnecessary purchases that you can live without. Write down everything you buy, no matter how inexpensive. Those takeout meals and coffees on the go can add up quickly.
Learn to make your money work for you. Retrain yourself and your family in spending habits. Set clear goals and guidelines. Living a simple and frugal lifestyle, does not mean you will have to do without. It may be a little harder to get other family members on your budget train, but don’t give up. Have a family conference, before you start your budget plan. Your goal is to have a healthy savings account, and that makes everyone in your family a winner.
You have no control over the bills that come in monthly. They are your first priority. Don’t get behind on any regular monthly payment. This will just lead to frustration and financial chaos in the long run. Your only hope of having money left over at the end of the month is to stop the needless spending.
Tips for saving money
~ Limit your entertainment budget.
~ Plan more meals in the home.
~ Learn to say “no” to the kids.
~ Start a small vegetable garden and grow your own herbs.
~ Learn what is necessary and what is not. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
When you get your paycheck, pay yourself ten percent. Put this in your savings account and don’t touch it. You will soon learn to manage without that top ten percent. Plan your budget around your remaining monthly income, and this will ensure that you have savings accumulating on a regular basis.