7 Practical Tips for Creating a Budget
When crafting your budget, keep these simple tips in mind...
1. Set Financial Goals.
Assess your priorities and dreams to figure out what you want most in life. Determining what you want will motivate you to better manage your money and develop personal savings.
2. Track Your Spending.
For 2 - 4 weeks journal every cent that you spend. By knowing where your money is going, you will be better prepared to set realistic limits as you develop your budget. And you'll probably be surprised to see how much you're spending in various categories!
3. Determine Income.
Analyze and list all of your income sources, including salary, government assistance, gifts from family, child support, etc.
4. Determine Expenses.
Analyze and list all of your expenses, including your rent or mortgage, utility bills, groceries, childcare, transportation costs, entertainment expenses, etc. Don't forget to consider semi-annual or quarterly expenses like car insurance, vacations, or visits to the doctor or dentist.
5. Find Ways to Increase Income or Reduce Expenses.
You may find that in order to cover all expenses, it is necessary for you to procure a second job, or find another source of income. Or you may discover that you're spending too much on entertainment or eating out.
6. Pay Yourself First.
Determine an amount that you can save each month so that you'll be able to meet your financial goals. Set this amount aside before you begin disbursing your monthly expenses. If you wait to save what's left over at the end of the month, you may find that you've already spent all your income.
7. Evaluate Your Budget Regularly.
It's important to constantly monitor your budget to be sure that appropriate adjustments are made in accordance with any lifestyle changes. You should also continue to track your spending to make sure you're sticking to the boundaries outlined in your budget.
If you have trouble developing your budget, please don't hesitate to contact CCCS to schedule a Budget Counseling session by calling 423-490-5620.
Sarah Clark Oster joined CCCS as the director of Marketing and Education Outreach in 2011. For more information on creating a realistic budget, contact Sarah by calling 423-490-5620 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.