How To Write A Budget
With financial times tightening around all of us, you'll be ahead of the game if you know how to write a budget. Writing a budget, and sticking to it, can help ensure that you stay afloat in these tough times. Learning how to write a budget may not be the most fun experience you can have but it can be one of the most necessary.
- Before you can write a budget, you need to gather all of your monthly bills so you know what your expenditures are. There should be bills that are pretty static monthly, such as your mortgage, car payment and insurance and bills that fluctuate, such as electricity and other utilities. Gather every single monthly bill from the past two months so that you'll have an idea of what you need to pay out monthly. For ease in budgeting, consider going on payment plans for any bills which do fluctuate. Most utility companies will allow you to pay a set amount each month so that you're not surprised by a higher bill in, for example, winter. The past twelve months are generally added together and then an average amount per month will be what you pay. It will be a whole lot easier to write a budget if the numbers don't change monthly.
- Write your budget to allow for purchases such as food, clothing, pet supplies or any other expenses you may have which you don't have a bill for. If you enjoy going out for happy hour weekly or have dinner dates, make sure to account for any money you spend monthly.
- Figure out what your income is every month when writing a budget. Add in all sources of income including your day job and any other forms of payment, such as an inheritance or child support. Don't forget to add in your payments from online writing or selling on places like eBay.
- Select a software into which you will input your income and expenses. If you have MicroSoft Excel, you already have a head start in creating a budget. Search the internet for Excel templates which you can download and just input your own numbers. If you prefer, you can purchase specialized software which will guide you through writing a budget.
- Subtract all expenses from your income to find out how much extra you have every month. Hopefully, you'll have extra to add into a savings account for retirement.