Budgeting and record keeping go hand in hand. In order to keep a budget current and accurate, you must be able to keep accurate and detailed records. The process itself can become so complex that some people even go to college to become accountants and auditors who get paid for providing expert record keeping and budgeting advice. There are basic guidelines that you can follow to become more proficient in budgeting and record keeping.
One of the most important aspects of putting together a budget is establishing a plan to follow from the very beginning. Your plan should have some definite goals that you are working towards. Whether you are putting aside a little every month to save for something in particular, or are just planning to invest your surplus funds, having a goal can help you determine what your overall plan will consist of. Determine your income and how much you need to save each month, so that your budget plan will be successful.
To implement a budget plan, you also need to gather all of your financial records. Records that you may need to get an accurate picture of your financial situation include your tax records, bank statements, utility bills, credit card statements, and any other record of your current expenditures.
Keeping accurate and up-to-date records is necessary for having a successful budget plan. Keeping records as you follow your budget will make it possible for you to track your expenditures and ensure that you are on track to meeting your goals. Records can be kept on paper in a ledger, but using a computerized form of record keeping is much more efficient. For instance, computer programs like Microsoft Excel can allow you to track and calculate expenditures with the simple click of a few buttons.
Just because you have a budget plan in place does not mean that you necessarily cannot change it. For instance, if you find that you have under or overestimated your expenses or income, you can easily adjust your budget as needed, because you keep detailed records to ensure that you remain within the general guidelines of your budget.
Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.