Money is tighter than ever these days. It is more important than ever to keep our finances under control. A budget is a great tool to save money and have a sense of security. All it takes is a little time, patience, and self-control. With a few pointers, you'll be on your way to financial stability in no time.
The first, and most important step in creating a budget, is to find out exactly how much money you are spending, and where. To do this, you will need to record EACH and EVERY purchase, and/or expense for an entire month to get a good idea of where your money is going.
Keep bills, receipts (even from a soda at the gas station), and records of anywhere else your money is going. At the end of the month, total, and categorize your expenses, (i.e. total bills, total cost of food, miscellaneous purchases, etc.).
When you have categorized, and totaled your expenses, you can now determine where there are areas for improvement and start budgeting.
We spend more money than we realize, and hopefully, recording EVERY expense in will help you to wrap your head around where your money is ACTUALLY going.
For instance, if you get a coffee from your local coffee shop/gas station every morning before work, consider brewing coffee at your home instead. Not only will you save some money, but who doesn't like the smell of coffee in the morning?
If you find that you are spending a lot of money on gas, you may be able to cut down at the pump by choosing the fastest routes, and doing multiple errands at a time. You will be surprised at how fast "a dollar here, and there" adds up.
Refigure your bills. This step might go overlooked in budgeting by many people, but you don't actually have to be stuck with the bills you've got. Take a good hard look at your monthly bills, and see where you can cut them down. Is there any money that can be shaved off a bill or two?
For example, cell phone bills can be astronomical these days. Can you tell me right now, EXACTLY what features you have included in your cell phone plan? Most people can't. Look over your bill, and you may find some service(s) you are paying for but don't actually need. Do you always have minutes left over every month? Do you REALLY need text-messaging? These are all factors to take into account in refiguring your cell phone plan.
Do this with all your bills. Cable, internet, car insurance, etc. You may be surprised by all the potential savings you can rack up by getting rid of what you don't need or use. You could be unwittingly hemorrhaging money on things you don't really need
Make sure to keep a record of all expenses... even the small ones!