Building A Budget
It is time to take control of your money and make it work for you! A good budget is a plan for spending and saving money that considers your current expenses, your past habits, and your future goals.
The following tools will help you create a simple, useful plan.
5 Easy Steps to Get You On Your Way!
Step 1: Start your budget by reviewing your past spending. Pull togetherall ofyour bank statements, credit card statements, receipts, bills, etc. for the past six months.
Step 2: Identify sources of income.Include all sources of income: job wages, financial aid funds, work-study funds, and parental contributions.
Step 3: Review expenses information. Receipts, bills, bank and credit card statements all come together in this analysis. Separate them into variable and fixed expenses. Fixed expenses are expenses that do not change from month to month (ex. rent, car payment, streaming subscriptions); variable expenses are expenses that can differ from month to month (ex. fuel, groceries). Next, list the types of expenses under each category (variable or fixed) but avoid grouping similar items together.
Step 4: Review your wants vs. needs:Break your variable and fixed expenses in to “wants” vs. “needs”. Housing and grocery bills are a need, subscription streaming services – might feel like a need, but probably fit into the “want” category (at least on the short-term if you ultimately find you are spending more than you are bringing in).
Step 5: Subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly income.What did you notice about the result? Do you have a budget deficit or a budget surplus? Once youtake a lookat your past spending habits, you can begin to plan and create a spendingplan for the future.
If you are having trouble covering your expenses, are covering your expenses using credit cards, or are covering your expenses but have nothing in savings, it's time to examine where your money is going. How can you cut back or adjust your spending?
This is a tough step, because it requires you examine your values. What is truly important to you? What can you limit now, so you can set a plan to save and work it in to your budget when you have removed other, burdensome expenses?
If you've been coming out ahead each month, excellent! How is your savings account? Check out our SAVINGS page for tips!