Planning ahead, budgeting and saving money can be time consuming, but later worth every minute. Use these helpful tips to save yourself some time.
LIST - Make a list of every category you spend money on each month. A sample list of categories: Rent or Mortgage, Food, Clothing-Shoes-Accessories, Utilities, Magazine Subscriptions, Entertainment, Car, Car Maintenance-Parking, Gas, Taxes and Insurance. You may want to add in a spending cash category if your budget allows it.
ESTIMATE - There are three different methods for estimating. 1. You may be able to guestimate how much you spend in each category per month. 2. Use your last months check register to calculate how much you spent in each category. 3. Start tracking this month and keep track of everything you spend in each category. Don't forget to add a monthly amount for items you may pay yearly such as insurance and taxes.
BUDGET - This budget is based on receiving two paychecks per month. If your paid at a different interval, you will need to adjust for the amount you received. Total all categories above. Take the total and divide it by 2. This is the amount that you will hold out of each paycheck to pay your bills. Subtract the amount out of a normal paycheck amount.
OVERBUDGET - If the balance is a negative number, you will need to redo your budget. Go back to your original categories and see where you can cut down. Some areas that can be trimmed are Spending Money, Clothing, Gas, Entertainment, Magazine Subscriptions and possibly some utilities if you have cable television or extra cell phones.
UNDER BUDGET - If the balance from step three is a positive number, you are doing good. This is the amount that you can transfer into savings out of each paycheck. Your checking account should always have enough for your regular bills, plus it will grow for your yearly or semi annual payments. Your savings will also grow.