Budgeting For Beginners

“Talk here ain’t cheap, but it’s on the budget.”

I’ve been asked a few times in recent years about my budgeting techniques.  After a few times sharing my tips, I decided what better a topic to share at this very moment.  With all that is taking place with politics, tax time approaching, and just simply reaching a age where this topic is keen, I’d like to be of help!

“You can’t have champagne taste on a beer budget.”

The first key to budgeting is determining what your budget is!  I remember when I first moved out on my own at 20 years old, I didn’t have a clue about budgeting.  I was taught how to pay for things and definitely told to save for a rainy day but no one taught me how to budget in general.  I remember signing my first lease and saying to myself, “you’ve got some real responsibilities and you’ve got to make sure you have all angles covered”.  To make sure I had all financial obligations covered, and too see how much would be left for personal care, leisure, etc. I first began by jotting down all my expenses for the month (i.e.; rent, cable, food, utility, phone, hair and nails, student loans, leisure etc.) and deducted the sum from my monthly, after taxes, income.  That magic sum was the amount I had left!  This simple practice, similar to when your mom used to balance an actual checkbook is the beginning of becoming a budgeting master.  It puts all of your money right in front of you so you know what needs to be paid out and where you may have some wiggle room to splurge.  Now I know this method might sound ancient but it’s a start.  Next, I’ll give you some of today’s methods.  Hey, you have to start somewhere, always remember this!

“Started from the bottom, now we here.”

After a few years of budgeting with the old school pen and paper, and trust it does work!  I graduated to more precise mechanisms.  I began using everyone’s favorite (says this very sarcastically) Microsoft Excel.  I know most may not feel computer savvy to use Excel but when it comes to their budgeting spreadsheet it is very user friendly.  Click link here: Microsoft Excel Budget Spreadsheet Template .  With this spreadsheet, you can easily personalize the fields to what your expenses are and input the amounts.  You can save this to your own computer and create month to month budgeting habits to help you see where your money goes and also where you can save money.  For those who’d like a budget friendly app for much easier usage, I do recommend the app: MINT .  This app does everything the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet will except having the convenience of being on your phone.

“No Lauren London, we was on a budget.”

Budgeting is very simple.  The hard part is having the self discipline.  It’s literally the true definition of adulting.  Giving my instructions alone may not be enough and I’d like to share a good read I recently came across.  It is certain to help anyone become the budget master I am today.  Be sure to read Chelsea Fagan’s: The Financial Diet .  You will not be disappointed.  You may even buy an extra copy or two to give out.  That type of good!

 

Happy Budgeting XoXo

KJW

 

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