Creating a Budget for the Year - Reducing Stress by Having a Plan
Financial Blog from Your Chief Financial Officer
Are your bills running you down, or are you in control of your money?
Creating a budget doesn’t need to be complicated, and I believe in keeping it simple and easy. How to start a budget especially during this time of staying at home and with the “Rona” (Coronavirus) all around us.
Most people I talk to will create a budget but it’s the staying on track part that gets us in trouble. Let’s be serious. Most of us don’t like anyone telling us how to run our household. This article will teach you how to use your own uniqueness to stay on track with your budget. Remember this is your own budget, not someone else’s.
Keeping it real
Unless you have a boat load of money in the bank, you need to do a budget to know when your money is coming in, and how much of it is going out. A budget allows you to track your expenditures/expenses. Choose a month and write down everything you need to pay or review your bank statement. Your budget depends on if you can do bi-weekly, monthly or yearly. You only need three items to start your budgeting and they are as follows: (1) Income, (2) Fixed expenses, and (3) Other expenses.
Income means money coming into your household. Expense is money going out of your household.
Plan your monthly finances the month before and make a monthly budget before the next month starts. Calculate what your monthly income will be and what expenses you are likely to pay.
On a blank page put on one side Income and the other side Expenses. This will give you a visual image of your budget. Remember this is your budget and it can be done bi-weekly or monthly. Make sure to put your savings or investments as part of your budget (pay yourself first), you pay everyone else so why not yourself.
By creating your budget, you are creating a financial plan, making it easier to make better financial decisions. If your expenses are higher than your income, you will need to make some changes. Figure out what expenses are taking more money than they should, i.e. house, or car. This would allow you to create awareness and knowledge about what your money is doing and where it is going. This puts you in control of your money so you can make educated decisions. Once you have full control of your budget, then you are in control of your money. Know where your money is going and always respect your money.
For non-recurring expenses (travel, gifts, vacation, etc.), you can establish a budget for them especially if you know how much they will cost so you can plan for them adequately. Put your budget down on paper. PLAN/SET GOALS/ACHIEVE.
It is important to track all your expenses.
Basic Budget Rule: Budget on what you bring home and put your bills in order of priority.
50% - Fixed Expenses: Your fixed expenses must be lower than what is coming in. Take care of the fix expenses first. The income coming in must be more than your expenses. (Needs)
30% - Savings/Debts: This area can be adjusted as you review your budget monthly. (Wants)
20% - Entertainment: This area can be adjusted as you review your budget monthly. (Discretionary)
Develop the habit, be consistent, and persevere to the end. Your budget should be reviewed each month and you will gain confidence. Remember this is your budget, so keep trying and work through it. If your expenses are higher than your income, you can reduce your expenses or increase your earnings/income. Also get a side hustle to earn that additional income.
Types of Budgets:
Examples: 50/20/20/10 ***Zero based***Envelope – Cash only***70/10/10/10
Ten Budget Categories:
- Housing 25-35%
- Transportation 10-15%
- Food 10-15%
- Utilities 5-10%
- Insurance 10-25%
- Medical & healthcare 5-10%
- Saving, investing, & debt payment 10-20%
- Clothing 5-10%
- Entertainment 5-10%
- Personal 5-10%
Budget Tips - Two Basic Parts: INCOME AND EXPENSES
- Keep track of your paycheck (after taxes, take pay/income)
- Analyze where you are spending your $$$ (review fixed expenses first)
- Bank statement
- Check book
- Divvy up your paycheck
- You can budget yearly, monthly, bi-weekly
- Know where your money is going
- Choose realistic amounts for each category
- Include an emergency fund
- Savings/pay yourself first (include this in your budget)
- Resist the temptation to overspend
- Use a budget app to track your finances
- Monthly expenses, yearly expenses, and occasional expenses (savings will fall into monthly, yearly, and occasional)
- Automate your expenses and savings amount. Make paying yourself a part of your monthly expense bill
- Learn how to separate wants and needs (don’t impulse shop)
It is important to set goals, and a budget is the way to keep yourself accountable resulting in less stress.
I believe in you! Happy budgeting.