Creating A Budget That Works For You

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So you recognize that it is time to start thinking about a budget. Congratulations! That is a brave step – most people are afraid of budgets and we definitely don’t blame them, they can be intimidating.

Let me ease your fears just a little bit. When I sat down and looked at my own numbers I nearly dropped my extremely hot coffee all over my lap – what a disaster that would have been! But as I began to dig a little deeper and set goals for myself I realized that it wasn’t so bad and budgeting really isn’t that hard.

So grab your favourite beverage – coffee or maybe champagne (it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?!?) and get comfy. I am going to give you some tips on how to create a budget that works for you.

The first step in creating a budget is knowing how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Figuring out these numbers is no easy task, but I believe you – you can do it! First you need to sift through your bank and credit card statements. I would suggest doing this for the last 3-6 months to get a good understanding of what your numbers are. Break down the numbers by categories:

  • How much did you spend on groceries?
  • How much did you spend on eating out? (This was a big one for me)
  • How much did you spend on clothing
  • How much did you spend on mortgage or rent payments?

Once you have broken it down into categories tally them up and see how much you were spending on each category each month – the numbers may be shocking but not to worry this is what creating a budget is all about.

Now that you know where your money is going and how much is coming in you can begin to break down your budget. Using a spreadsheet is very helpful for this.

Categories to include in your budget (These are just samples, feel free to make up your own categories):

  • Mortgage/rent payments
  • Car insurance
  • Electrical and gas bills
  • Cell phone bill
  • Cable and Internet
  • Groceries
  • Basic necessities
  • Savings

Using the categories from the first tip break figure out what percentage of your household income will go to each category. This is where those bank/credit card statements will come in handy.

 

When creating a budget don’t forget to leave a little wiggle room for emergencies or last minute getaways. The goal of a budget is to help you understand where you’re money is being spent and how you can manage it. The last thing your budget should do is be so restrictive that your Friday night consists of drinking water and staring at the four walls of your bedroom. Leave a little room for girl’s night, coffee dates and little treats for yourself!

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