Some people have a hard time finding ways to save their hard-earned money. It can often be tough to track your income and expenses regularly – especially if you have multiple accounts, credit cards, and cash that you utilize frequently. Luckily for you, there is a system called budgeting that you can use to track your income and expenses. It can also help you find ways to save the money you’ve worked so hard for.
Budgeting by definition is, “an estimate, often itemized, of expected income and expense for a given period in the future.”(1)
Essentially, all you need to know to set up a budget is what you expect to make for a month, week, or year. Next, you need to know what your fixed expenses are. These are your consistent payments, such as rent, car payments, insurance, etc. Also, you should have a good idea of what your variable expenses are. Some of these include gas, groceries, entertainment, etc. When you combine these, both fixed and variable, you can get a rough idea of what your expenses are. Once you have those numbers, you can get to work on getting them where you’d like them to be.
With a budget, you have to stay disciplined if you truly want it to work.
If you tell yourself that you are only going to spend $200 on gas for a month, then make sure you stick to it.
The problem many people have with budgets is that they don’t want to keep themselves honest. Too often they will go over their allotted amount and tell themselves that they will do better next month. Remember, your budget is really only as good as you make it and consistency is key.
Now you might be thinking to yourself that you want to start budgeting but don’t know how to actually create one. If that’s the case, the best solution is to find a template online and use that as a starting point. I recommend using an excel template because they’re easy to use and update. Excel isn’t the only option, though. You can also get a template from this website here. A quick Google search will also supply you with many more template options.
The biggest take away here is that budgets are a great way to save money, but you have to stay disciplined. If you are honest with your budget, you will find out where you are over-spending and it can help you keep better track of your finances. If you would like to learn more about budgeting, I suggest reading The Only Budgeting Book You’ll Ever Need: How to Save Money and Manage Your Finances with a Personal Budget Plan That Works for You (The Only Book You’ll Ever Need) by Tere Stouffer
It will take time and some trial and error before you get it completely right. So, play around with some different templates and once you find one that works best for you, stay consistent with it.
For some people, the budget system just doesn’t work. Personally, I’m one of those people that it just doesn’t work for. If you’d like to learn about what system I use monthly to build my savings, check out: An Alternative to a Budget