How to Make a Budget Work for You!
I am so passionate about teaching people How to Make a Budget and I wanted to create this resource to help you create a personal household budget that works for you! Budgeting isn’t about fitting your finances into someone Else’s box it’s about creating a plan that fits your own families needs and income structure. This series walks you through every step of creating a budget for both fixed and flexible income streams.
I also have several Free Budget Worksheet Downloads that will help you track and create your own personalized budget. You will want to start by downloading the Free Budget Worksheets that are mentioned in each day of this series. These sheets are referenced several different times and each post will guide you through how to use these sheets. They build on each other so I recommend using them the way they are outlined in the series.
Originally the How to Make a Budget Work for you Series was featured as a 31 day journey with tips and steps for each day. I have listed out each post here so that you can follow along on the 31 day journey or check out as many posts in one day as you would like.
How to Make a Budget
Take a deep breath and just take a moment to dream… sometimes we can’t see past our own two feet when it comes to budgeting, This post helps you walk through setting Financial Goals and starting down the path towards creating a budget.
Day 2 –
One of the most important aspects of budgeting is the “Why”, everyone needs to know exactly why they are creating a budget and exactly what you hope to acomplish with your budget. These goals will guide other important decisions inÂ your families budget so don’t skip this step!
Day 3 –
This is the first step in creating your own personal household budget. You want to start by taking inventory of everything your family owns and evaluating your assets. I realize it’s easy to say “I don’t have anything” but this post will give you some examples and worksheets to help you complete this task.
Day 4 –
Once you’ve listed your personal assets it’s also important to detail your current debts. This post goes over the Debt Summary Worksheet and explains how to list out your debts and how your debt applies to your personal budget.
Day 5 –
They say every family has a Spender and a Saver, Read the list of 4 Spending Personalities and determine which personality fits you best, This is a great way to start identifying your money habits.
Day 6 –
You knew this one was coming didn’t you? You can’t create a budget until you know what you are spending. Taking time to evaluate what you are currently spending will help you identify areas of excess and also help you plan your budget to accommodate your families personal needs in each area.
Day 7 –
Once you have listed out your weekly expenses it’s a good idea to also list monthly expenses you might have. This includes things like your Mortgage, Car Payment, Insurance and other larger expenses you pay on a monthly basis.
Day 8 –
The final step in evaluating your spending habits is to list out yearly, quarterly or semi annual expenses. Things like Christmas Gifts, Life Insurance, Vacations, etc. all fall in this infrequent yearly category. These are important items to plan so that when the expense rolls around each year you will already have the money set aside in your budget.
Day 9 –
If I had a marriage saving tip as far as being on the same page with your budget this is it! Personal fun money no matter how big or small will help you have a little bit of freedom within your budget and help you from avoiding the devastating spending sprees.
Day 10 –
Are you ready to start creating your budget? This post highlights the different ways to group your expenses to start creating budget categories. Once you have a list of expenses creating categories should be relatively easy.
Day 11 –
This is the hard part of creating your budget, determining which categories are most important. If you have a flexible income (meaning you make a different amount each month) Then this step is very important, you will want to make sure you take some time to think through which items are the most important to your family.
Day 12 –
It doesn’t matter how much you make or how many different income streams you have, knowing exactly what you expect to bring in during the year will help you effectively budget your income into your category structure.
Day 13 –
Combining your list of budget categories with your income is where you get into the fine details of creating your budget.
Day 14 –
Each category on your list has to have a budget amount, this could be $0 all the way up to your expected need for this category. Remember, your budget can’t be greater than your income so you may have to make sacrifices at this point to stay in budget.
Day 15 –
What do you do when you have more categories of spending than you have income? This post walks you through determining what to do with those extra categories and how to handle flexible income.
Day 16 –
If you have additional income or unexpected income that shows up during the year it is important to have a plan for that extra income. This post explains several options for handling the unexpected.
Day 17 –
There are 2 different types of Budget Categories, You will need to take the time during this post to work through each category in your budget and determine if it is a Cash or Set Back Category.
Day 18 –
Once you have your budget set up and your ready to roll there are a few tips and tricks for helping you manage your budget on a dailyÂ basis. This post highlights how to keep up with your budget and maintain it for every day use. The more you utilize a budget the easier the daily aspects of budgeting become.
Day 19 –
Everyone has a different method of tracking expenses. This post highlights several of my favorite methods for tracking expenses, there isn’t a right or wrong method so take some time to read over the options and choose the method that works best for you.
Day 20 –
Communicate Consistently A Budget doesn’t work if everyone involved isn’t communicating and on the same page. This one tip will help you stick to your budget for the long term, it is so important to make sure you are communicating openly and honestly in order to have a successful budget!
Day 21 –
If you are living paycheck to pay check or you have very little wiggle room in your budget make sure you read this post on balancing your income. It is so important to make sure that your budget is meeting your own personal needs and this post outlines one of the best ways to keep your budget on track and keep yourself from overspending and running out of money.
Day 22 –
One of the first arguments my husband and I had over money had to do with this topic. When you have categories that have excess in them this post outlines how to handle that money based on the category purpose.
Day 23 –
Having a budget is a little bit like having another child, you have to make sure you are spending ample time managing and maintaining your budget so that it is accurate and effective. A budget that isn’t maintained will quickly fall apart.
Day 24 –
One of my favorite aspects of budgeting is that you can begin to pay down debt. This post walks you through the method for identifying and beginning to attack debt.
Day 25 –
We have all had those emergencies come up in our life that we weren’t planning for. Having a budget allows you to plan not only for the expected, but also for unexpected expenses.
Day 26 –
Saving for retirement and the future is an important aspect of a sound financial plan. It’s important to try to not only plan for today but to save for the future as well, if you are spending all of your income then this may be difficult or you may need to tackle debt first, but regardless this is something that should be in your budget sooner rather than later.
Day 27 –
My FAVORITE Thing to do with money is to give it away. I love giving, over the years I have found that it’s such a blessing and having a solid budget in place allows our family to give when needs around us arise.
Day 28 –
Each month take the time to track the progress towards your goals. Seeing long term goals in light of current successes always helps to put your plan in perspective and motivates you to continue on a solid path.
Day 29 –
As you begin to win with money make sure you are sharing your budgeting process and financial successes with others. Not only will you be an encouragement to others but you will also motivate yourself as you look back over all you have accomplished.
Day 30 –
Encourage others to join you in creating a budget. So many people know they need to get control of their finances but they don’t know how to make a budget and your encouragement can help others start down the path towards a balanced approach to budgeting.
Day 31 –
Some things are better caught than taught, but budgeting is something that you can do both ways. Leading by example is the best way to teach our kids financial responsibility, but you can also check out this post for ways you can get your kids involved in the entire process.