Making a budget will better your lifestyle, and you can make it easy on yourself to stick to that budget.
You cannot stick to a household budget if you do not have one or have one that is not accurate. You can work into a yearly budget plan, as a monthly budget will not be exact. However, a yearly budget doesnt prepare for emergencies so well.
Get a notebook, a school notebook is fine. You need not buy an expensive leather bound ledger, but you might want to later, with the money you will amass.
List your expenditures for the month. This is just an example list yours will be different. List your income, at the time you receive that income. Keep your income and expenditures separate. Your income minus expenses will become your reference point.
A. Checks, dates
B. Lottery ticket win
C. Checking balance
1. Savings$$$ (this may be $0.0 now but list it for later)
4. Health Ins
5. Auto Ins
7. Personal Prop Tax
8. Heating Gas
10. Cell phone
14. Credit Payment$$$
Items that you pay quarterly, yearly, etc, as Property Tax or Car Insurance; divide into a monthly cost.
List everything and do not combine payments such as “Utilities”; “gas, electric, water, etc”. What you pay for groceries, household necessities (cleaning products etc.) and personal items (hairbrush, lottery ticket, bingo, vacation) list them on a separate sheet as you spend during the month, include restaurants/fast foods, then total them. You must first know your necessities before you give them a solid budget.
Make it a habit to write down every penny spend. You should know exactly where all of your money is, including cash. Money you have in your wallet, purse and pocket right down to the penny.
At the end of each month, look at your expenditures. Now you know exactly where the money is going. You can begin to adjust your budget and have more.
Is all that gasoline necessary? If you make multiple trips, make fewer trips by planning. Shopping at three stores, do on the same day without going back and forth to your home. Shopping lists, if you use 3 gallons of milk each week, buy all three at one stop.
Is your electric bill outrageous? A few fans and less air-conditioning can save a lot. An investment in ceiling is very good. Avoid household “cold spots” in summer and “hot spots” in winter, close vents in these areas.
Groceries, what are you buying, are they essentials or snacks? never go food shopping on an empty stomach. Cut the extra’s to a minimum, if you have a large bag of snacks, you will eat them simply because they are nearby, not because you are hungry.
Watch grocery sales, a brand of Chili you like are on sale; do not by a few, buy a case. Do the same with other items you use, paper-towels, toilet paper, meat and drinks.
Check internet sites like “dollar stretcher”, auto insurance, home finances. Never take a second mortgage on your home. If you have one, consolidate it into a fixed rate with less interest.
Credit cards or other small loans; pay them first. You should never have a credit card that cost you an annual fee or that you cannot pay off at the end of one month.
The primary idea of budgeting yourself is to loosen monies for your self. So long as you are using your income to pay others, you are working for others. Work for yourself, and learn to pay yourself FIRST.
Never “spur of the moment” shop. If you see something, you would like to have. A new purse, a riding lawnmower, etc; do not buy it, go home and wait 24 hours. Then, if you still want it, go back and buy it.
Now you are budgeting yourself and you will be surprised at how those pennies saved become pennies earned. You will begin to fill that “savings” slot, and you will learn to pay it before you pay any other bills, now you are working for yourself. In this process, build enough savings (or in an interest accrual checking account) to pay one full month of bills; for emergencies.
Begin to learn of investment opportunities as you grow economically. “The Motley Fool” is one good website to check.