How to Develop a Budget and Stick to It


Developing a budget may seem like a fairly difficult task to handle. This is probably because you have never done it before, or you may have tried and it didn’t seem to be working. There are some things you can do to make a budget and stick to it without feeling like you are overworked and stressed out, and at the same time having money left over for the things that you want to do.

First of all, you need to figure out all of your expenses. Start by writing everything down on a piece of paper. You can buy a special notebook for this or create a spreadsheet on the computer, but a plain sheet of scratch paper will also do the trick. Just choose whichever is easiest and most convenient for you. On this list, you need to write down every expense, starting with the necessities like light, water, and rent, and working your way down to even the littlest things like Q-Tips and toothpaste, and things of that nature. You should also include regular expenses even if they aren’t necessity. For example, if you go to the movies every weekend, you should count in the ten or twenty bucks you usually spend on that.

Once you write down your expenses, you need to figure out exactly how much money you have to spend. Write down your exact income and compare it to the list you have just made. Is the amount of your expenses more than the amount of your income? If so, you need to start re-working your list and taking the less important things off of it. If you go to the movies every weekend and it costs you $20, this equals $80 per month. You could stop going out to the movies and start renting them for say $10 per weekend. This would save you $40 per month which you could be putting toward your other more important bills, and lessening any amount of debt you are incurring as a result of credit cards or other lines of credit.

If you find yourself with ample amounts of money leftover after you create your budget, you may use this money to do a couple of different things. You can use it to pay off existing debts, or start saving for retirement. Whatever you choose, you should be sure to put it to good use. Keep in mind though that you should try to designate a little bit of money to go toward those unexpected expenses, and for things that allow you to have fun, if possible. If you max out your budget so that you don’t have any money leftover at the end, you may be causing yourself problems. You may need to rework your budget to include only the things that you really need. Deciding whether an item is a “need” or a “want” is as simple as asking yourself if you can survive without it. If the answer is no, then you should leave it on your list as it is very important for everyday life. Water for example is something that you need in order to survive. On the other hand, cable television is something that you can live without and can be taken off the list if necessary.

Creating some type of savings is a great way to insure that you aren’t digging yourself into a debt trap. This will allow you to stick with your budget and pay for the things you need and allows for an unexpected emergency to pop up. Keep in mind though that convincing yourself that you need to go to the mall is not grounds for an unexpected emergency. A trip to the hospital for stitches or a broken leg on the other hand would warrant you to use some of that money.

Creating a budget and sticking to it will require a bit of work and some will power to go along with it. You will find however that once you have gotten all the dirty work over with, you will be much happier and find yourself to be very pleased with the outcome of things. You will feel better about yourself and will be on your way to reaching your monetary and personal goals.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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