Quick and Painless: How to Easily Budget Your Finances

By: Phil Rogers

We are a nation of planners. We plan our vacations, our holidays, even weekly chores with to-do lists. But when it comes to mapping out how we spend our hard-earned dollars, we often neglect the task. A budget is nothing more than a simple plan for our spending. It outlines the amount each month that we will spend, the amount that we will save, what items we will buy, and what items we can do without.

One of the first steps in getting a handle on your spending is to see where your dollars go. You would be amazed at how fast your candy bar, soda and coffee add up. Keep a small notebook and jot down every penny you spend on a daily basis. Do this for one month. Do not alter your spending habits. The purpose of this exercise is for you to get a clear picture of where all your money goes. Put your expenditures into two categories: essential and nonessential. You may be quite surprised when you see where your daily money is going. After you have the monies separated, make the decision to trim one area of you nonessential spending. If you set a realistic goal, the budget you will be making will be much easier to stick too. Keep some fun in your expenses. If you work to modify a doable budget over the course of a few months, you are more likely to see long term success.

To begin you will need to figure out what things are not necessary to buy and develop a baseline spending pattern to follow for the second and third month.

1. When you figure out where your disposable income is spent in one month, calculate the average nonessential expenses you incur per week. Withdraw a little bit less cash than you spent the month before. Use this cash for your disposable income for the next month. If you find you spend all of your money before the week is over, don't worry, you can always forgo that extra latte.

2. Review how often you dine out at restaurants each week. In the first month you may eat out, but less often. Choose the days that you eat out based on what is easiest for you. Then don't eat out more often than that.

3. It is a good idea to build a wardrobe by pieces instead of purchasing an entire outfit at once. When hunting for a bargain, you should make it common practice to check out the clearance items first and discounted items second.

4. Taking the time to shop around for the best rates and looking for potential switching bonuses can save you money when getting a new credit card or changing one of the following services: satellite/cable, telephone, and garbage pickup.

5. Withdraw cash only from your bank's ATM machines to avoid extra charges.

6. In order to save money, make a list before you go shopping and stick to it! This way you will avoid impulse spending. While shopping you can tell yourself that you can come back another time to get the items that are not currently on your list. When you see how much you save by using a list, you probably won't want to do that.

{Overall, remember reduce stress by starting with a snap shot of where you are spending money now, make a budget in increments, allow yourself a few luxuries as you go, don't be too hard on yourself. You want the budget to work over the long term. Create successes for yourself in the beginning, reevaluate over a period of several months, and a new lifestyle will emerge where you will be more in control of your spending and have less wasteful spending that will generate more cash flow for you as well.}

Money Management
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Money Management
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles