Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck or feeling overwhelmed by your finances? It’s time to take control of your money and create a budget that works for you. Perhaps you’ve heard the word budgeting almost a thousand times and wondering what it is. I am not a big budgeting person, but it helps to plan how you spend your income. It also helps build wealth. While budgeting alone, is not enough to gain financial freedom. It is a crucial practice for effective financial management which enables you to achieve your life goals and stay ahead.
Budgeting for beginners may seem a task since it’s not yet a habit. You may find yourself having a hard time sticking to a budget. That’s fine.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of budgeting, provide valuable tips, and even offer a free budgeting worksheet to help you get started on your journey towards financial success.
What is a Budget
Budgeting is how you spend or allocate your future income in different categories, such as housing, transportation, food/groceries, other household expenses, travel, entertainment, debt or loan pay down, savings, and retirement.
Why Is Budgeting Important?
Budgeting is important because it helps you:
● Control Your Spending
Living within your means is a crucial discipline for staying afloat and achieving financial goals. Budgeting helps you spend within your income.
● Track Your Expenses
Budgeting helps you find out where the bulk of your money goes so that you can make adjustments if need be.
● Save Money
If you must save money, then you may need a budget. With a spending plan, you can set aside money for funding your goals.
● Stay and Get Out of Debt
Budgeting is the most recommended way to avoid and stay out of debt. By spending within your income, you’ll barely need to borrow. And, if you have a debt to offset already, you can allocate a portion of your money to it each month until you clear up the debt.
● Make Better Financial Decisions
Budgeting helps you to know what you can do now and goals that are not feasible at present.
● Prepare for Emergencies
One of the most important life hacks is to always prepare for life because life happens. Situations that will take up a huge part of your finances may just come up suddenly, and your savings can provide a way out.
● Focus on Long-term Financial Goals.
By using a budget to keep your financial life organized, you can consciously work towards your financial goals.
How to Start Budgeting
#1.Set a Goal
This is the very first step you should take in budgeting. Ask yourself “why do I need a spending plan?” A goal can help you stay dedicated to your budget, starting a new habit is often challenging, you know.
Very importantly your goals should be specific. “To save money” is not necessarily a goal, you can save for a trip, debt repayment, or buy a house, just be specific. Also, it’s best to allocate time to your goals, this will help you be up and doing.
#2. Create a Budget
Working with a specific budgeting method is advisable. You can use any of these budgeting methods:
THE 50/30/20 RULE
With this approach, you breakdown your budget into three categories: needs, wants, and savings/debt repayments.
- 50% for needs (e.g. housing, utilities, and food)
- 30% for wants (e.g. shopping, dining, and hobbies)
- 20% for savings
The issue with this is that it is difficult to differentiate what you think you need vs what you want. Sometimes buying a new car is not really a necessity.
THE 80/20 PLAN
An alternative to the 50/30/20 is the 80/20 plan which allows you to spend 80% of your budget on all your expenses and save 20%.
THE CASH ENVELOPE SYSTEM
The envelope system is an old but effective method. Share your income into three to five places and dedicate an envelope for each category. The rule is that you don’t spend from an envelope for what it is not dedicated to.
THE ZERO BASED BUDGET
This method is when you’re giving every earned dollar a job. In this method of budgeting, every dollar is accounted. I love it because you exactly know where ALL of your money is going. It is effective because it’s highly personalized and unique TO YOU. It may take some time to do it but it’s an effective way to manage your money.
The Zero based budget follows the following formula: Income – Expenses – Debt – Savings = $0
#3. Start Implementing
Once you’ve created a budget using any of the methods that you think is best for you, start working with it out right. Always evaluate your progress periodically to make sure you are on track, and strategize or put more effort if need be.
Congratulations on taking the first step towards financial success through budgeting! By implementing the tips and strategies shared in this guide, you can gain control over your money, reduce financial stress, and work towards achieving your financial goals. Remember, budgeting is a dynamic process that requires regular review and adjustments. Use our free budgeting worksheet to start tracking your income and expenses today. With determination and persistence, you can pave the way for a brighter financial future.
[Download your FREE Budgeting Worksheet here]
Remember to regularly review and update your budget as your financial situation changes. Happy budgeting!