A budget is far more than a spending plan. It’s a practical roadmap for applying your values every day, week, month, and year.
A budget is how you balance sharing, saving, and spending. Regardless of your financial sophistication, you will benefit from this experience.
Watch a clip from the What You Need to Create a Successful Budget learning track on the Money Sanity U® platform.
Here are three straightforward steps to create a budget that works for you.
1. Before you start looking at the numbers, your first step is coming up with a game plan for when and how you will make money decisions.
- Set aside time for a weekly 5-minute money check-in to stay on top of your money transactions.
- Think through your money values and make sure that your money habits align with what matters most to you.
2. Creating a budget starts with getting a handle on where money comes from and where it goes.
- Gather information about all of your sources of income.
- Collect all of your regular bills and track other expenses for 30 days to get the facts on how you spend money.
3. Once you figure out where you ARE with your money, decide where you WANT TO BE.
- Think about what you do with your money—sharing, saving, and spending.
- Write down goals for the short-, medium-, and long-term.
- You might decide on a short-term spending goal of taking a vacation.
- Or you could set a medium-term savings goal of accumulating a down-payment for a car.
- A long-term sharing goal might be making decisions about including organizations you care about in your will.
Once you have invested the time to create a budget, you will want to keep tracking your income and expenses, at least monthly, to ensure you live within your means.
- How well are you meeting your goals?
- Are the dollars you allocate for each category realistic or do they need to change?
The choices are up to you. You’ll be far happier the more you deal in reality with your money and take control of your situation.
A budget is a doable way to make healthy money decisions and put yourself on a path to financial satisfaction and success.