Having a budget is one of the tenets of healthy financial management. Without a budget, you can’t know what you can afford or how much you’ll be able to save so that you can meet your financial goals, so we’re here to help you set up your budget.
For some people setting a budget is a difficult task. That’s okay. It is never too late to set up a doable budget and stick to it! Follow these simple steps to set up your budget:
Determine your income. Be mindful to include all sources of income, including sources that may not come in on a regular schedule.
Determine your expenses. Include fixed expenses like your mortgage or rent, car payment, utilities and other regularly occurring monthly bills, as well as your variable expenses like your food, gas, and entertainment expenses. Also, include expenses that occur throughout the year like your property taxes, car maintenance costs, tag renewal, etc.
Compare your expenses to your income. Consider this an opportunity to look at where you can cut expenses so that you can save more money or pay off debt. Ideally, you should be saving at least ten percent of your income for emergencies, retirement, and to meet other short and long-term financial goals.
Set a realistic budget. Now that you know exactly how much money you have coming in and where that money is being spent, set your budget. It is important that your budget account for all of your fixed monthly expenses, necessary living expenses, and provide for paying off debt and saving.
Adjust as needed. If you get a month or two into following your new budget and you find it just isn’t working – then update it! You always have the opportunity to create a budget that works for you. Healthy financial management is realistic and works for you.
Your budget is your pathway to reaching your financial goals, whatever they may be. Following a budget means you can get out of debt, take that trip to Fiji, and eventually retire without the worry of running out of money.
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