As the name of my blog implies, I love budgeting. I think a budget is a great way to see where your money is going and to make sure that your spending is in line with your priorities. There is a ton of ways to budget, so here are a few tips for creating a budget quickly.
Budget Tip #1 – Use Automated Software
The easiest way to make a budget today is to use the many available online resources. Websites like Mint.com and MSN Money provide access to free automated tools that will help you to create a hassle-free budget.
All you have to do is input the amount of money that you spend in each category every month or have that info pulled automatically to a program like Quicken, and then you just let these websites do all of the work.
Budget Tip #2 – Save Your Receipts
It may seem outdated, but storing all of your receipts for a month is an easy way to find out how much you are spending on a monthly basis. You would be surprised at how fast small expenditures can add up. Use your receipts to assess your spending habits so that you can budget for these expenses on a monthly basis.
Budget Tip #3 – Get Help
If creating a budget seems like too hefty of a task, then maybe you should get some help. You can either look into hiring a professional or consult a financially savvy person. One of my friends came to me a little more than a month ago and we created her budget together. Once you have the initial framework in place, you can follow the example and modify your budget as needed. My friend and I will touch base again in a couple of weeks to modify her cash budget in whatever way necessary to make it work for her long-term goals.
Budget Tip #4 – Be General
Being too detailed can actually be a major drawback when creating a budget. While you do want to document your expenses, you usually don’t want to write down every single expense on its own line. You should use broad categories that cover the basics of where your money is going. You don’t want a budget that is too complex to keep up with. Trust me.
I created an Excel sheet that has 3 columns – one for the category one for our target spending amount, and one for what we actually spend. I print out our credit card statements, write down our income, and look up any other spending that occurred through our bank accounts. This makes it pretty easy for me to enter all of our expenses and monitor our overall spending.
What other budget tips would you suggest?