The first step is to take all the money that you actually make each month and add it up. Meaning, the paycheck you get either on the 1st or the 15th of every month, or what you get paid per week. This money you receive for the work you performed, and it’s “income”. Depending on whether you are an employee or a contractor, this “income” is either taxed before you receive your check, or after the end of the year. (See Tax Section, we have experts).
Add up all your expenses, all the bills that you have to pay each and every month. Some expenses come at different times through the year, so try and make a list of what month those expenses are due. As an example of expenses: Rent, utilities, phone, car payment, gas, insurance, snacks, ect. (USE THE BUILT IN CALCULATOR) Remember, I’m not worried about the money you know where it goes each month, I’m worried about the money you have no idea where it goes.
Moment of Truth
Subtract expenses from income. This money is the BALANCE. If you don’t have a balance, then you are in bad bad shape, AND ONLY YOU CAN CHANGE THIS! If you have money left over, that is a good thing, BUT YOU CAN DO BETTER!
If You Don't Have any Cash Left Over
Go over credit card bills and ISOLATE UNNECESSARY EXPENSES (Energy Drinks, Cigarettes, eating out)
Next month, try and reduce your “random expenses” by 10%. We understand that this change is hard, but you have to drop the bad habits, and you have to do it now!
If You Have Cash Left Over
Take 10% of total income and open a “Savings Account” – See investment topic for details. You need to have 10% of your annual salary on standby for random expenses (ex car maintenance, medical bills, family emergency, animal bills, etc.) You don’t think you need this money until you start asking friend and family for it!
Just Figuring it Out?
If you are just trying to figure out your budget try and live off a set amount each day. Take your total income and divide it by 30 days, and this gives you how much you can spend TO BREAK EVEN, this doesn’t account for your saving account, but you need to start somewhere! If you make $1500/month total, then you can spend MAX $50 per day. Now, this doesn’t include all your bills, so add that into the equation. See calculator for an explanation.
Tips for You
Give this 3 months to start your savings account, and redo your budget to see if you can do better!
After seeing results and having money in your savings, set a new budget goal. First, start to save $1,000., if you did that, see how long it takes to save $2K, $5K, $10K. (Remember to keep your goal insight)
Do this every 3 months, if you’ve hit your goal, reward yourself. NOTHING CRAZY, but maybe a weekend trip somewhere in your state. Or do something that you are proud of, and that you know you can afford with money in the bank!