Budgeting should be simple. In theory, it is. Subtract your expenses from your income, and voila! But often, we get sidetracked or overwhelmed when trying to budget. Are you looking for a good way to organize your expenses? One of the most important things you can do is to set up a budgeting system. With these practical budgeting tips, it will be easier than you think. Plus, there’s a free instant download to help you, so keep reading!
When is it Too Late to Start Using a Budget?
Whether you are just starting out at your first paying job or if you are nearing retirement, a budget can help you get your finances under control by giving you a plan of action. Not only does a budget help you with your hard-earned savings, but it can also help you minimize your expenses. A budget helps put you in charge of your money. Read on to discover how you can take control of your finances once and for all.
But I’ve Tried to Budget Before
When it comes to budgeting, most people fall into one of these categories:
- Those who don’t know where to begin.
- Those who won’t begin because they keep everything in their heads.
- Those who spend so long trying to make a budgeting template that they get frustrated and quit.
- Those who spend hours (or days) making such an in-depth budget template that they made it too challenging to use or are too tired to even look at it again.
Have no fear, you are already halfway there. I’ve made a budget template for you to start using right away. We’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s focus a minute on the “Why.”
Why Should I Use a Budget?
Having an organized budgeting system can help you acheive your goals. One of the first things you will discover is that aside from having more organized finances, you can set up goals for yourself, your family and your future. Most of us are so busy working day to day, that we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to plan for the future. But a little bit of planning goes a long way. When we set specific goals, then we have something to strive for. Budgeting goals will help us be more aware of our spending decisions in general, as well as careful with our day to day choices.
Having a budgeting system in place also helps encourage you. It puts things in perspective and makes you see what you are doing right and helps you improve on what needs to be done better. Once you get things down on paper, it is easier to see how you can be more efficient.
For thousands of years, the Book of Psalms has been read as a source of inspiration to strengthen the reader with renewed courage and faith.
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Other Budgeting Tips that Work
Open a Separate Savings Account
This is an important step to insure that you don’t “borrow” from your savings. An even better step is to open a savings account in a separate banking institution.
Automate your savings with direct deposit from your employer. There are many benefits to direct deposit, including convenience, immediate availability of funds and reduction of paperwork.
Set Up an Emergency Fund
This will be one of the first goals. After you set up your budget by itemizing your expenses and income, decide how much money you can put toward an emergency fund.
Dave Ramsey suggests an emergency fund should have enough money to keep you going for two months. Then should an emergency arise, such as loss of work, you will be in a better position until you find work. Begin with a goal of $1000. Once you reach that, focus your energy on minimizing your debt, beginning with your smallest balance, not including a mortgage.
Meanwhile, continue to add to the emergency fund until you reach your two month goal. Whether it takes months or years, do everything in your power to pay off your debt.
Itemizing your expenses will bring to light any expenses you can do without, at least temporarily. Once you reach your emergency fund two month goal, you can then contribute solely to your savings account.
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This step can be a great way to reduce expenses. It guides you to buy only what is actually needed at the grocery store, reducing extra expenses. It also helps reduce any food waste, contributing to even greater savings. It is also a time saver. Spend 10 minutes once a week deciding what to prepare, instead of having to think about what to cook seven times a week when you come home tired from work. You can download my Meal Planner by clicking here.
Overall Benefits of Using these Practical Budgeting Tips
Lastly, review your budget every six months and make any adjustments necessary. Often, people think that a budget is limiting, but ultimately, the opposite is true. These practical budgeting tips will help you minimize stress, give you a sense of freedom and add to your overall quality of life and relationships.
One of the best advantages is that with each year of budgeting, you become better at it. Just like a muscle that you use becomes stronger, the more you set healthy financial goals and boundaries, the easier it becomes. It won’t be long before you will see the benefits and begin to enjoy them. And, this will lead you to want to be more organized in other parts of your life as well.