Credit Card Counseling & Creating A Budget
Have you ever found yourself trying to figure out exactly where all of the money you make goes at the end of each month? If this is the case and you are unsure as to how all of your money is being spent, then you need to make a budget. Making a budget is especially useful when money is tight or you are in debt because it helps you plan out what you can spend and lets you see where you can save a few extra dollars.
A budget is an easy way to see at one time all of the monetary transactions that you are involved in each month. A personalized budget can help you balance what you earn with how much you spend so that you can plan your financial future and pay off any debts you may have.
The Sculpting Begins
Your budget should take into consideration every bit of income and every expense that you have. When forming your budget be sure to include all of the following:
- Your total income. You should start your budget by recording how much you make in a month. Include your paycheck (minus deductions, like social security), tax refunds, gifts, and anything else you can spend.
- Your monthly bills. After you figure out how much you plan on making in the month, subtract your normal monthly payments. Include credit card bills, utility bills, car loans, mortgage payments, and anything else you pay on a regular basis.
- Miscellaneous expenditures. When you determine how much money you will have left over after paying your bills, you can see how much you have left to spend on other needs. This can include grocery shopping, dining out, and entertainment expenses.
- Your savings. When you plan your miscellaneous expenditures, be sure to leave some money left over for saving. You can use this money to pay off any debts you have accrued or you can keep it to help out in the case of a costly emergency.
The biggest trick to budgeting is being realistic with your figures. Be honest with yourself and put down how much you will actually spend. If you’re unsure exactly how much you will spend, err on the side of budgeting too much money. That way if you don’t spend all of it, you can increase your savings even more than expected.
Pay Yourself as You Go On and Stick to Your Budget
In addition to being honest with yourself, you must be disciplined with your spending. If you have only budgeted enough money to dine out once a week, don’t get lazy and go out two or three times a week. Taking a little money out of savings may not seem like a big deal, but small totals add up over time. Ideally you should save more than you planned each month and then as each little bit adds up you will see your savings grow faster than you ever expected.
Pay Others as You Budget and Rid Yourself of Debt
If you have a lot of outstanding debt, be sure to give it a high priority in your budget. The longer you keep your debt around, the more it will cost you to pay off in the long run due to high interest rates. Living frugally might not be your wish, but doing it now so that you can get rid of your debt is something that will help you tremendously in the future.