Do you know where your money goes every month? How do you track your income and expenses? Do you track these? And are you really living within your means? Are you living the life you dream of? With America’s debt concerns on the rise, creating an organized, do-able budget is essential for everyone.
Did you know:–two-thirds of people,–do not use a budget to track their money.
However, if you want to pay off your debt–or save for a big trip, home down payment or wedding and achieve overall financial freedom–
You need to understand that a budget is the cornerstone for reaching these goals.
Here's how to Budget Like A Boss:
Understand what a budget is: money in, money out.
Track everything, yes everything, in your budget. Even small expenses. Every penny needs to be accounted for.
Keep a money journal for 30 days. Carry around a notebook and pen with you everywhere, and anytime you spend money (cash, debit or credit card), write it down. This will help you realize your spending vices (those things we always find a way to spend our money on even if we know we shouldn’t), and will help you understand your spending habits.
Then, create a budget:
- First, start by calculating your monthly net income (gross income minus taxes). If you are self- employed, calculate a monthly average.
- Next, add up all your fixed expenses. These include mortgage, rent, utilities, food etc. (Basically your monthly bills). This should be 50% or less of your net income.
- Then calculate how much you want to save every month toward your goals and label this category Pay Yourself First (PYF), a term created by author David Bach. It is important to make sure you are saving for your goals before you use any money for variable expenses. This should be 15-20% of net income. To figure out how much and where you should be saving, it often helps to work with a financial planner... like me!
- Next, add up all your variable expenses. These would include- eating out, entertainment, pets, gym, coffee, travel, shopping, etc. I like to think of this category as the expenses we could cut back on if we wanted to save more toward our goals. This should be 20% or less of your net income.
- Finally deduct your fixed expenses, PYF savings, and variable expenses, and any business expenses from your net income.
Once you subtract all expenses from your income you will find out if you are breaking even, have a surplus or falling short every month. You can always identify the areas where you want to cut back if needed. Just keep in mind that you will need to find the balance between living for today and saving for tomorrow.
If you had it all your way, what Top 3 things would you like to achieve with your money over the next year? Guess what? Your budget is your money map to get you there.
If you feel like you’re ready for even more personalized guidance, then make sure to schedule your free 30-minute Discovery Session with me to learn how I can help you find more money, budget with more clarity and ease every month, and ultimately save more money toward your financial goals.