Does it feel like you have more money going out than coming in each month? Do you get to the end of the month and wonder where all your cash has gone? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you aren’t alone.
While it’s certainly not easy to make a comfortable living and pay all your bills, did you know that by creating a budget and tracking your finances you’ll be able to gain better control of your cash? Financial experts constantly give this piece of advice as the number one tip to people looking to get control of their finances. In fact, many say it’s the only solution to money problems. So if you’re new to budgeting and aren’t really sure where to start, here are some tips you can use that will help you create a comprehensive budget.
Begin with what you have
The first step in building a budget is to create a list of all your assets. This includes the amount in your current and savings accounts, investment accounts, and any other holdings. The next step is to make note of what you are making since this is part of what you’ve got. Ideally, you want to create a monthly budget, so figure out what your salary will be for a full month. If you have supplemental income to add to your full-time job, you can add this in too.
List all expenses
Now come the expenses and bills for the month. This includes all your fixed expenses such as rent or mortgage, a car payment, loans, credit card payments, utilities, insurance, etc. Then comes the variable expenses such as groceries, entertainment, clothing, fuel for the car, and miscellaneous. You can now compare your expenses to your income and see what you have; the balance may end up surprising you.
Make adjustments wherever necessary
If your budget shows that you are spending more than you are bringing in, then adjustments will be necessary. Typically, the best place to make these adjustments is with the variable expenses such as clothing, entertainment, and grocery costs.
Find a way to track everything
Now that you’ve figured out what you make, how much you spend on bills, and what amounts you have to stick within, you need a way to keep track of the information. Nowadays, you’ll find all kinds of free budgeting apps you can use that will allow you to quickly and easily input transactions as they occur.
Taking it further than a budget
While a budget is certainly a key element in getting control of your finances, you may also find you need to take things a little further. If that’s the case, you can always contact professionals at a place such as Carrington Dean Group Limited for debt management advice. They will be able to provide a personalized plan that works for you and your needs.
A conscious effort
Sticking to a budget takes a conscious effort on your part, as well as consistency. By doing this, you’ll find within a very short while that your finances aren’t such a mystery anymore and you’re actually gaining control over your debt.