If you ever want to have enough money for the things that you really need, you know you must put yourself on a budget. This is true for everything from clothes to car insurance. A budget is one of the best ways to see how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Because most people earn money monthly, a monthly budget often works the best for most people. Even those who earn money bi-weekly or at other intervals, monthly budgets often work best because most people have bills that are due regularly each month.
When you are setting up your budget, it is a good idea to use some sort of spreadsheet, whether it is a commercial budgeting product or something as simple as an excel worksheet. The basic idea is that you need to be able to see what is coming in and going out so that you have control over it. Many people like to state the income first, and then subtract all of the expenditures from that to see what is left over. It is a very good idea to have the first item that comes out of the income be the amount you will put into your savings account on a monthly basis. This can be a great incentive for keeping your other costs down.
Next you should list all of your expenses, generally in order of importance. As you look at the items you have, such as rent or mortgage payments, utility payments, money for gasoline and groceries, you should make sure to include items that are not monthly, such as car insurance or property insurance. These are often paid yearly or every six months, and you will have to budget a monthly amount that you will save until it is time to pay them. The challenge is that you have that money in your checking account now but can’t spend it until the bill comes due.
One way around this is to arrange to make your car insurance payments on a monthly basis. Most car insurance companies will work with you on this, and may even set up an automatic withdrawal from your bank account so that you don’t have to remember to write and mail a check each month. They may even offer online statements and reminders so that you will know exactly when that amount is coming out of your account. You simply add that into the budget along with all of your other bills.
The problem comes when you have more expenses than you have income. If this is the case you really need to scrutinize your expenses and cut back in areas where you are overspending, usually on things you don’t really need. For instance, if your entertainment budget is $500 per month, you can cut back this to $50, and only go out to dinner a couple of times rather than twice a week. You can rent movies cheaply as well. Cutting back on these things will leave you the money you need for important expenses such as your monthly auto payment or the car insurance premium. Budgeting is a very important skill, and will help you throughout your life.