Budgeting is important for everyone, regardless of income level. With a few simple steps, anyone can plan a household budget. The key is to track your current spending and to plan for future needs as well. Once a basic budget is in place, it is easy to build upon it and plan for the future. The harder part, however, is sticking to the budget once it is in place. It requires constant monitoring and tweaking.
Review your recent checking account statements, if you utilize a checking account for most transactions. If not, take a month to write down each expenditure or outlay of cash.
Review your monthly spending. Place each expense into a category with like items. For example, categories could include housing expenses, car expenses, entertainment, utilities, debt payments and groceries.
Review your monthly expenses again, now that each is in a category. Find ways to reduce spending in each category. Coupons and sale shopping could reduce your grocery expenses. Remove unnecessary expenses from your cable, Internet, and cell phone bills by removing unneeded services. Contact local utility providers to see if they will match competitors' lower prices.
Plan for future expenses by reallocating the money reduced from the budget toward savings or debt reduction. Set a monthly goal for savings or debt repayment. Allocate that money and make sure to set it aside at the beginning of the month to ensure that it is spent on debt reduction or placed in savings.
Numerous online budgeting websites help consumers quickly and easily budget their expenses. On one such site, for example, consumers with checking accounts may upload their monthly statements, from which the website then creates a budget based upon the line items in the statement. It is a quick, easy and free way to start a budget.
A budget only works if you and your family stick to it. Note your expenses in the months following the first budget and reallocate expenditures if you find that you were too conservative or too liberal in certain categories. If the budget is unreasonable, you will not stick to it.
- cutting the it budget 3 image by Andrew Brown from Fotolia.com