A budget is an estimate of income and expenditure (disbursements) for a set period of time. The simplification of this idea is to not spend more than you are making. The more complicated picture is that a detailed budget will be more successful. Setting up the details of a budget will take much time to organize.
There are many budget planning tools online. Some free business accounting software for Windows is available for download. These tools will help determine the total amount of income you acquire each month, as well as the amounts you pay out. A list of income will include your take-home pay, your spouse’s take-home pay, bonuses, overtime pay, income from savings, income from investments, child support, etc.
Disbursements may include rent or mortgage payments, credit card interest, charitable donations, child support, and vehicular loan payments. Also included would be the cost of electricity, gas, water, sewer, telephone, cable, and home repairs. Don’t forget that you should include the cost of childcare, educational expenses, healthcare insurance, dental care, optometric care, medicine, the expense of food, and the cost incidental items such as entertainment or dining out.
Here are steps on how to set up a budget:
Plan to keep track of your own personal finances. To fashion a functioning budget use the following steps. Your initial step regarding establishing a household budget each month would be to begin the process by tracking your individual or household expenses. Monitor this process for a minimum of one to two months. Collect each grocery receipt and all statements from your bank. Also, track mortgage loan payments, fuel receipts, utility bill totals, Internet/digital cable charges, as well as other family and personal expenditures. Take note of this important information in a notebook. This will assist you when you wish to calculate how and where you are spending.
Determine monthly household revenue. This second step will be useful to you when assessing your monthly income. Always remember to combine income from all of your sources, with the exception of seasonal or unforeseen gains. You can occasionally note family earning as miscellaneous income.
Step three includes evaluating the total sum of your personal monthly income and subtracting expenses. If this sum indicates more income than expenditures, you may add to family savings, increase the amount in your emergency fund, or raise your total investments.
Step four is of utmost importance! You need to assess the outcome of step three and make monthly adjustments to your budget. There will be some months you will have increased expenses. An example would be when your property tax is due. Perhaps you need to save an extra $50 per month to meet that obligation. Institute actions to stretch your dollars. For example, by spending less on groceries and eating out fewer times, you will have more available cash.
When you develop your budget, it is important to include extra blanks to each category. This will give you room to note additional expenditures you may not have thought to include. It will be helpful to you if you underestimate your projected income totals and overestimate your projected expense totals. Be logical and make an effort to reserve an increased amount of income for savings or unexpected emergency funds. Pay the balance of high interest personal debt aggressively, first, whenever possible. This will lighten your expense load. If you normally take a family vacation, but you are short on cash, perhaps you could skip that luxury expense for a year.
Setting up a monthly budget may require a substantial amount of time and effort; however, you will greatly reap the benefits of good money management.