Budgeting can be quite challenging for many of us. Creating a budget is easy compared to keeping within the budget. However, today┬'s tough times call for strict budget keeping measures.
Here are a few tips on budgeting that you may find useful.
Identifying your expenses
What do you spend on each month? Some expenses are easy to determine. Rent, utilities like light and water, phone bills are fairly constant. Some are not as easy to determine because of impulse buying. Food and drink for example; these can burgeon into more than you planned on spending because of that on the spur of the moment luncheon you went to with your friends.
How much money do you have each month after taxes? You can create a budget based on how often you get paid. This may be easier for you to stick to as well.
If you have other sources of income, be sure to include those as well.
Want vs Need
Some expenses are simply wants that you can live without. Needs are different. You need to identify which expenses you can live without. Sometimes, unnecessary expenses can rapidly inflate your spending. You would be surprised to see how much your daily Starbucks habit comes to in a month.
This is a tough one. Record every single expenditure you make in a month. You need to find out if you are spending more than you are earning. A record of your expenditures can also help you identify which expenses are necessary and which are not.
Make a conscious effort to save
Ideally, you should have enough savings to cover at least six months of household expenses. While this may seem to be an impossible goal in today┬'s current economy, saving up for the future is still highly advisable.
An emergency fund can come in quite useful in the event of a sudden illness, an unplanned trip home, or unexpected home repair. With an emergency plan in place, you have no need to go into debt at all.
Pay off your debts as soon as you can. Interest payments will accumulate if you don┬'t pay as much as you should. Avoid having to pay more. Pay off your debts before purchasing any of your wants.
Use a spreadsheet
If you don┬'t like to do manual calculations, you can learn to use bookkeeping software to handle your accounts. This will give you an additional skill if you haven┬'t learned bookkeeping before. You don┬'t even have to look far for software to use. For simple needs, Microsoft Excel can do the job quite well.
You┬'ll also be able to spot trends in your spending pattern more easily if you automate the process. You┬'ll probably make less mistakes too if the formulas are already in place.
Successful budgeting requires quite a bit of effort. The way to successful budgeting may not be easy but practice will make ease the entire process.
You just have to learn a little self restraint. Patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait. Budgeting your finances well can lead you to financial freedom.
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