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Creating a personal budget— Probably the first thing that comes to our mind when our finances are mismanaged and largely forgotten. It is quite intimidating to recall where we have spent our money. For setting up a personal budget, you don’t have to be an accountant or a professional bookkeeper to maintain your financial records and track where the money actually went. All that is required is to put your financial expenses into writing for maintaining a healthy life cycle of your paychecks.

Strategic Significance of Creating a Personal Budget

Let’s face it, creating a personal budget is an overwhelming task as it requires a lot of attention and focus to detail. For some, it’s easier not to think about it and spend freely rather than to sit down and pay attention to what you’re doing. As experts say, ‘it’s a lot easier to create a personal budget and much harder to follow it.’

A personal budget helps you plan your income and expenditures wisely. Those who are successful start to gain more control over their financial aspects. It would be wrong to say that our budget defines who we are, whether we are spendthrifts or skinflints. In simplest terms, the budget depends on our spending patterns. Those who are unable to plan and meet their budget cleverly may find themselves in severe agony or stark anguish. So, creating a personal budget is mandatory for those who find themselves stuck in a miserable financial crises.

Why A Personal Budget?

Undoubtedly, creating and maintaining a personal budget may be a painful process, especially for those who are not good at remembering and recording financial transactions. Logically speaking, it isn’t that hard because almost everybody knows where they spend their financial resources. All that one needs to do is record and track transactions for maintaining a healthy flow of operations and activities. No matter how difficult personal budgeting may sound, there are ways in which it can be created, organized, and maintained. 


6 Steps to Creating a Personal Budget

Your Inner Motivations or Behind the Scene Elements

To make smart use of your money, you need to dig deep into your life values such as your social, physical, and financial environment. Intrinsic motivation is derived from social pressures, societal norms, and personal values that push a person to make a personal budget for maintaining a healthy life cycle. However, this only happens when a person builds and maintain a positive mindset throughout the course of the journey. And above all, understanding goals and setting up priorities accumulates to give you more control over your finances and eventually over your life. In short, smart planning and budgeting always help you to make better financial decisions in life.

Determine How Much Money You Can Afford To Spend

This is probably the most crucial step in creating a personal budget. Obviously, you can only spend what you have in your bank account. A smart move is to keep at least 30% in reserve for dealing with an unexpected financial crises or uncertainties. These circumstances can spring up anytime– perhaps if you lose your job, become ill, or there are delays in your monthly paychecks. You can use this reserve to pay off your expenses. Before allocating money for meeting several necessities, you must know exactly how much money you can afford to spend in a single month.

Shop Smarter

By creating a personal budget, you can easily manage your budget and keep track of your finances. Most of us are impulse buyers or have an irrational buying and purchasing pattern. We hardly care about money when it comes to buying our favorite products or services. This is a major hit-back in our finances which disrupts the whole monthly budget. This pattern must be avoided at any cost! For avoiding impulse purchasing, you can make a shopping list and strictly stick with it when shopping. Look for stores that offer competitive prices, buy-in-bulk (only the things that are used a lot), take cash only, give attention to sales promotions, use discount vouchers, and, most importantly, make rational judgments when you are purchasing items.

Record Your Transactions

Every outflow of cash or funds must be recorded, preferably at the moment you make the purchase, either on your phone’s notepad or a Budgeting App. This way, you can consider this transaction when budgeting afterward. By doing this, creating a personal budget and maintaining a track of your transactions will become easier and far more convincing than ever.

Evaluate Monthly Expenses

Keeping a close eye on your monthly spending will allow you to maintain greater control over your budget. At the end of the month, you will notice and fix the discrepancies with reasonable judgment. Moreover, it will allow and help you examine whether or not you are in your budget limit.

Make Adjustments

Making adjustments is as hard as creating a personal budget… at first. This may possibly be the most discouraging element when your personal budget results don’t meet your financial needs and expectations. However, you don’t need to worry about this because, once you get used to following your budget, eventually things will start to land in your way. And, you’ll actually see that you end up with more money in the end.

Conclusion

Staying on top of your personal budget can become intimidating and challenging. For most, it’s a ‘necessary evil’. It doesn’t really matter how well off you are financially, you still need to build and establish a personal budget for making an optimal use of your in-hand resources. Creating a personal budget has become the need of an hour and those who successfully manage their personal finances save a lot of money for more important future establishments.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

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A budget calculator spreadsheet helps to budget and makes it easier to follow or craft. Although it’s not mandatory, you can build your budget, with improvements after some time, with the help of such spreadsheet. The mandatory part is actually getting the basics right and then it’s up to you whether or not you prefer using a spreadsheet. That being said, creating a budget can be a daunting task in itself as many considerations are taken into account. For example, as a parent, priorities lay differently than a bachelor or a single person. It varies from situation to situation, but our guidelines can be applied universally.

Calculate your Income Flow with Budget Calculator

To build your budget, the very first thing you need to do is calculate how much money you expect to come in. By identifying this, a clearer path to bliss can be constructed with proper planning. After all, a budget is a financial plan which helps organize and structure payments and expenditures accordingly. It’s imperative to keep the numbers real. Any exaggerated or over-estimated accounts will create nightmares with the plan. It’s easy to overvalue the actual amount, so care needs to be taken in deducting social security, taxes, 401k’s, etc. Ensuring that an adequate amount remains in the budget calculator comfortably allows you to build your budget to make it to the end of the month. The net income is the amount that you are left with after deductions, which is exactly the amount you want to use in the budget.  Correctly estimate all of the money that is inbound; it could be freelance or part-time work. Regardless, all of it must be recorded and organized for expenditures.

Record Spending

By tracking and recording through organized categorization of your spending, many benefits are achieved such as adjusting. Recording all that you’re spending and tracking it will keep the accounts straight, repelling any situation that would cause deficiencies in the budget calculator. To build your budget and make it work for you, your expenditures should be logical, planned and recorded to allow it to give you a more wholesome picture of what the budget is doing for you. Start with fixed expenses. Anything that you have to pay on a regular basis is termed as fixed expenses. These expenditures don’t change but may go up. Everything like rent, utilities, amenities, etc.are all considered first when budgeting. There is little chance that one can cut back on these, but understanding the amount you have in hand makes life easier when spending under a plan. To build your budget, the budget calculator is made to eradicate any chances of error. In addition, enlist your expenses for groceries, gas, recreation, and entertainment. In this area, it’s possible to draw down or cut back expenses in order to be on the safer side and not go into debt at the end of the month.

Goals and Targets

Setting up goals and targets is one of the best things you can do by planning and working towards them. List all that you want to achieve this month, on a short term and long term basis, to build your budget for the budget calculator. Short term is any duration of time below a year whereas long term is over a year. Short term aims are things such as saving money for an Xbox or an iPhone. Long terms targets can be the kids’ education or marriage plans.

Plan

Without this vital aspect of budgeting, nothing will work. Planning out payments is a great way to secure stability and consistency in life. Knowing your fixed expenses will act as a guideline for all payments that need to be made in the month that presents itself. Plan your spending habits only to cover the most needed expenses.

A budget calculator and the need to build your budget can easily be facilitated with MS Excel. It is a wonderful spreadsheet and tool that users can use to create their own specified needs.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

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What Is A Household Budget?

A household or home budget is a finance plan that reveals the snapshot of your monthly income towards expenses, saving, debt repayment. It allows you to keep a close look at your income and help you examine where you can save money or cut extra expenses. Without a home budget, it’s like sailing a ship in an open sea, moving uncontrollably without a direction. In simplest terms, a home budget is a tool used for sustaining a stable lifestyle.

Significance of a Household Budget

Planning and creating a household budget is no easy feat. It requires persistence and dedication as it may take a lot of time, mental efforts and energy. No matter how well off you consider yourself to be, it is absolutely necessary to have a home budget in place in order to keep a track record of monthly spending. No one is born with money management skills, you have to learn the art of this game before you can start building own budget.

According to studies, a home budget works as a magic formula that solves most of your money related problems. This signifies that we can save tons of money by making an effective use of scarce resources we have for the month. Trust me, a household budget solves more than half of the problems in homes! We often find ourselves stuck miserably fighting with our own thoughts about how on earth we are going to meet our demands for the month with a single paycheck. This concern haunts most of the people around the globe and, if you consider yourself to be among those people, you have to learn money management strategies and skills in order to maintain a healthy financial life cycle.

6 Steps to Build a Household Budget

Know Your Income and Set Goals

The first and the most crucial step in creating a budget is knowing the exact influx of your income. Obviously, whatever you earn for the month has to be wisely allocated into several subcategories like food, health, transportation, utility, clothing, home maintenance and other miscellaneous expenses. So, after keeping let’s say 20% as a reserve for hard times, you need to distribute resources per set requirements.

This means that you need to identify what is important to you and draw a clear line between your needs and desires. Moreover, setting smart goals can help you maintain an equilibrium between your income and expenditures for the month which would ultimately increase your savings!

Stick to Your Goals

Your spending should never exceed your household budget! For maintaining a healthy financial life cycle, you need to plan a budget that remains within the allocated amount of money. There is certainly no point in making a budget plan if you don’t expect to support and stick with it later on. Your positive attitude and conviction will allow you to reap rewards and negative ones will lead you to trouble.

Separate Needs and Wants

Once you start to track where your income or finances are going, ,you will be able to discover which things you can afford to buy and which you can afford to postpone. By closely examining the household budget, you will get a clear picture of your monthly spending and will be able to make a separate list of your wants and needs.

Design Your Budget

People have mixed opinions regarding how to design a budget because everyone has their own set of priorities. They also feel deprived when they have to deal with the word ‘budget’ as it evokes feelings of fear, anxiety, stress or frustration. So, before building your own budget for the month, you need to know exactly how much money you can afford to spend in a month.

Make a Clear Execution Strategy

Once you set your priorities, you need to allocate money and decide how much money you can afford to spend for a certain need. Planning plays a critical role in defining the fate of the household budget. The better it is, the greater the rewards. So, once the plan is drafted, you need to put it into action for making an optimal use of resources at your disposal.

Reevaluate the Budget

Any good household budget plan involves monitoring, tracking, periodic review and occasional re-evaluation. If you continue a habit of making effective budget plans, there will come a time when drafting a budget will become easier than you can ever imagine.

Conclusion

A household budget can help you feel more in control of your finances. It will reveal whether or not you are exceeding your budget limits. A careful plan and a smart approach can help you save more money than you can imagine.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

Close-up Of A Businessperson's Hand Giving Cheque To Colleague At Workplace
Manage your debt, budget your recreational appetite, pay unescapable bills, credit at least 20% money into your savings account, contribute a tiny portion of income right from the beginning in your retirement or 401k account. 

There is nothing more thrilling and exciting than getting your first paycheck from your first ‘real job’ after school, college or university. Over the course of your first month on the job, you have probably thought of spending your first paycheck in a million different ways already. Well, that’s what everyone does and it’s pretty normal. However, creating a budget or financial plan right from the beginning saves you from financial miseries and crises in the future and allows you to know the worth of your hard-earned money.

Money Management and Millennials

Money management is no easy feat, especially when you are new to managing your money-related tasks. It is a foreign concept to most millennials. According to a survey conducted that included 5500 millennials, only 30% of people credit and contribute money from their first paycheck into their savings and 401k account. By making an analysis from the scale of percentage, the survey indicates that millennials either lack the financial wisdom to save money for hard times or they don’t even believe in saving money at all.

Make A Financial Budget

Trust us. The motivation to save money develops right from the beginning and the little that you do contribute to your savings and retirement accounts each month accumulates to a significant wealth at the end of your working years. Your first paycheck is like a cheery on the top of a pineapple cake. If you eat it before cutting the cake, the charm and excitement level of blowing the candles and cutting the cake will vanish.

This indicates that you must budget every paycheck properly and develop a habit of saving money right from the beginning in order to meet financial emergencies and save yourself from mental traumas relating to money. Monthly budgeting and bookkeeping give you a clear snapshot of your salary and helps you know where your money is actually going.

Here is what you should do with your every paycheck.

Pay Off Debt

You may not know how to manage your money properly, but you have to learn the art of money management or you may find yourself stuck miserably amid severe financial problems. To keep your financial equation balanced, you must always pay off your debt first before allocating and spending money on other things–no matter if it’s your first paycheck or your tenth! The debts like student loan debt, auto loan debt, and credit card debt must be wisely paid off first or high-interest rates can cripple your long-term financial standing which will ultimately make it extremely difficult for you to move ahead in your career. In short, paying off debt should be priority #1 and no one argues that!

Create A Savings Account Or Emergency Fund

Building an emergency fund and creating a savings account is ideal for you to kick-start your saving career. This will help you meet financial emergencies and encourage you to spend less and save more. Since life is horribly unpredictable, you must have a backup plan and resources to meet financial problems that may ascend at any moment. Keep working, save more, hope for the best, and plan for the worst! According to the 50-30-20 rule, you must save at least 20% of your income for hard times. Crediting a fixed portion of your income from every paycheck gets you more financially secured and stable. If you start saving from your first paycheck, it will be a big plus for you in the long run.  

Contribute Money to Your 401k or IRA Account

According to studies, those who regularly contribute money into their retirement fund, 401k, or IRA account, stay happier throughout their lives and spend a relaxing life knowing their future is secured and well protected. In order to accumulate a significant wealth to enjoy your post-working or retirement life, you must start contributing to your retirement account right from your first paycheck.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

 

 

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Setting budgets, saving money, and regularly contributing a tiny portion of income to your retirement account can not just help you meet your financial emergencies but also allows you to secure a safe and healthy post-retirement life. It is true that saving money on a regular-basis is a tough job for most millennials as they lack money-management and budgeting awareness. Creating an ideal budget for the month is not an alien job, all that you need to do is to stick to the devised budget the way you have planned or intended it to be.

Money-related issues can cause you a great deal of stress, especially when you have to support your entire family with many mouths to feed. To stay on top of your budget, you first need to have a well thought out brainstorming session for sorting things out like your monthly income, monthly expenses, anticipated saving benchmark and other similar things. Budgeting doesn’t have to be that hard. It all depends on the motivation level of a person; whether or not they truly want to save money for hard times. Setting your monthly saving targets can help you save a significant portion of your money which could further be invested somewhere useful or help in financial emergencies and difficulties.

Look At the Bigger Picture

For ideal budgeting, you need to learn the art of the game first for staying on top of your cash flow. Millennials who are already exposed to various ways of spending money now need to plan sensibly and make a budget wisely or else, they will never be able to save money at all. It doesn’t matter what tool or technique you consider to use for ideal budgeting, as long as you know the significance of making a budget—you are never in the ruins.

Let’s suppose you are using a budget spreadsheet. You will have a better understanding of your finances and where your money is going each month. Also, you will feel more in control of your finances which will ultimately get you one step closer to meeting your financial goals. According to studies, most millennials face financial traumas early in their professional careers because they fail to manage their finances properly. A lack of money-management skills begins with lack of planning and motivation to save money for meeting financial problems. Those who regularly contribute to their retirement, 401k, or IRA account can enjoy their post-working life more than anyone else because they will have the financial security and safety to make the most out of it.

Create a Budget

Creating a budget plan for the month allows you to live comfortably within your means. You need to precisely know your current financial status and how much you can afford to spend in a month. For that, you need to set both short and long-term goals for creating the right plan for ideal saving and budgeting. This indicates that planning and budget forecasting is critically important for creating a successful budgeting plan. According to research, those who have the habit of saving can have a healthy, more stable, and secure future.

Stick With Your Budget Strategy

Once you have a clear picture of the ins and outs of your cash flow, you need to refine your budget strategy. Tightening and cutting your extra expenses will help you save more which means that sticking with your budgeting strategy and plan is ideal in every sense. First things first, always pay your debt. After that, you need to set your priorities. There are certain unavoidable expenses like utility and household bills which cannot be avoided and that cannot be controlled. However, you can cut back on grocery and shopping bills by limiting your spending habits.

Get Help from a Budgeting Expert

If you are not good at numbers or setting up a proper budget, you can hire the professional services of budgeting experts or planners. From bookkeeping and inspection to planning, they will have the creative vision to provide you a workable monthly budgeting plan.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts
 Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

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What is Personal Budgeting?

Budgeting is not only important for businesses, it has equal importance in an individual’s personal life. Personal budgeting is a method of monitoring and controlling your finances. This helps in monitoring personal finances and managing them accordingly. At times, we are so far away from having a budget that we end up broke within a week of being paid. This does not only leave you stressed out but it even affects your professional life. You either feel like you are not paid enough or there is no use in getting paid as you eventually end up with nothing within a week. Working and being broke leaves a drastically negative impact on an individual’s mind. Hence, it is important for a person to monitor their financial spending, analyze the problematic areas, and design a budget to improvise their financial position.

Assess your Current Financial Position

It becomes frustrating when you know that you are working on a low salary and your expenses carry the weight of a mountain. Low-income budgeting seems hard at an initial level. However, if you start small, you will be able to figure out your budget plan more effectively. 


Categorize Your Expenses

The first and best way to budget is to monitor your current lifestyle. Observe your spending habits and monitor your current financial position. Before making any budget quota, you need to list all of your expenses in the following categories.

Debt

Your long-term expenses are things such as student loans, car loans, unpaid bills, credit card balances and so one. Writing them down will give you a shockingly realistic yet clear picture. Don’t worry, they are not impossible. 

Monthly Bills that are Fixed Expenses

Monthly bills are something that you cannot avoid, they are things that you have to pay. However, listing them gives you a clear snapshot and you can even reduce them to a limited extent. These expenses include: rent, utility bills, cell phone plans, gas, and food bills.

All the Variable Expenses that you can Balance

Variable expenses are all of the leisure or emergency expenses that do not occur every month such as buying new clothes, dining out, buying new gadgets, getting your car fixed, and other fixtures and expenses that can occur at your residence. You cannot simply eliminate all of these expenses, however, you can manage a few of them and even look at which expenses are repeating quite often.

Identify Your Problem Spending Areas

When you are done listing all expenses, you will be better able to pick out the problematic areas that are straying you away from your budget every month. This problem could even highlight the areas that need your immediate attention. For example, if your car is asking your monetary attention every month, that means you need to get your car fixed properly once and for all before it breaks down completely.


Making a Budget

Designing a budget is not difficult, unless you don’t manage your steps carefully. Designing it step by step is very important as it will help you in designing a practical and applicable budget for your personal expenses. 

Step 1: List all of your liabilities and plan your gradual repayment method.

Once you have listed your liabilities, you are required to design your payback method. You should not overburden yourself by paying all of your liabilities together. Going for a crash repayment will leave you dissatisfied and you could end up adding more loads.

Step 2: List all of your necessary expenses.

Step 3: Prioritize your money goals.

Step 4: Cut your unnecessary expenses. Now, this is the most difficult part of it all. You might feel like it is practically impossible to cut down as every bill you are paying is a basic necessity. However, once you have crossed the monitoring step and all of the steps of budgeting, you will be able to clearly figure out the failure in your current spending methods.

Step 5: Be Frugal.


Tips to Create a Budget and Save Money without Going Broke

  • Be realistic
  • Always record every transaction
  • Bookkeeping
  • Control your spending
  • Don’t cut out all the fun
  • Take advantages of all the upcoming opportunities
  • Always keep on updating your budget as once you are done with repaying one of your debts, you might have some free cash to rearrange in order to pay another
  • Always keep emergency funds
  • It is best to plan your remaining cash into percentages


What are the Budgeting Benefits?

  •  You can focus on your desired money goals
  • You will be financially stable and organized within a few months
  • It will give you control over your money
  • You can arrange your expenses and spending
  • You will have extra cash in case of an emergency
  • You will have a clear picture of your personal finance
  • You will be able to improve your bad spending habits

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.


 

 

Book and Coin in glass jar on wooden table with pencil. Conceptual saving, invest, for education or future
When you have no idea of where your money goes, your financial situation can become chaotic, making you lose control over your finances. On the other hand, when you are aware of your complete monetary flow, spending, saving habits, and financial goals, you tend to make smart decisions with your money, improving your overall financial health and outlook. You have to create a budget to help you do just that.

‘Budget your money!’ This is the powerful mantra that every money advisor and bookkeeping expert suggests to their clients. In fact, budgeting is the most fundamental and effective tool for managing your finances. It clearly demonstrates your fund allocation patterns and the choices you have on what items to enjoy. It will liberate you from overloading debts and the grief of overspending. Although, creating a budget is verily more work, it pays off immensely with many great life-enhancing advantages.  Here are the reasons why it is essential that you create a personal budget.

Keep your Eye on the Prize

Budgeting helps you map out your long-term financial goals and work towards them. On the contrary, drifting aimlessly through life and spending your money on every shiny, attractive item that simply catches your eye can hardly help you save up enough funds to pay off your debts, buy your dream car, put a down payment on your home, or go on vacation with your family.

When you create a budget, you tend to follow the path leading towards your goals, save money smartly, track your financial progress, and realize your dreams. You won’t feel misery over realizing that the brand new Xbox game does not fit your budget as you are saving up for a new home (or something else) which is another long-lasting attraction.  

Gain Control Over your Finances

Create a budget for yourself if you want to become intentional about your spending and savings. Consequently, budgeting enables you to control your money rather than let it control you. It prevents the sudden hassle of having to adjust to a lack of money which occurs when you initially fail to plan your spending. In addition, budgeting also helps you decide whether you should sacrifice short-term spending, such as purchasing cheaper hair products, in return for a long-term advantage such as a new laptop or car.

Spend Money within your Means

Credit cards are often the leading reason for most consumers who spend money beyond their means and do not most often realize they are overspending until they are drowning in heavy debt. However, when you create a budget and stick to it, you will never see yourself struggling in such a precarious position. In fact, you will know your exact earnings and affordability to spend every month and how much you have to save to realize your money goals.

Stay Focused on your Financial Goals

In the business environment, budgeting and bookkeeping can help avoid spending unnecessarily on products and services that typically do not aid in attaining financial goals. When you are juggling with limited resources, create a budget to easily make ends meet.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

You never know when life will strike you with unexpected events such as getting laid off, becoming sick or injured, a loved one’s death, or getting through a divorce. All of these can result in serious financial disasters. Evidently, such emergencies often seem to arise in the worst possible circumstances when you are already in need for money. That is exactly why you have to build an emergency fund.

Consequently, create a budget that includes an emergency fund consisting of a minimum of four to seven months worth of living costs. This extra fund will tend to save you from drowning into the depths of chronic debt upon a severe life crisis. Certainly, you have to show patience and perseverance to save up such an emergency fund. However, avoid allocating the majority of earnings into your emergency fund. Rather, device it into budgeting with realistic goals and begin small. Simply putting $10-$30 aside weekly will slowly build your emergency fund.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.


 

Sad man looking at his wallet with money dollar banknotes flying out away
Do your finances seem to continually be out of your control? Are you spending too much money on credit cards? Do you struggle in keeping a balance between your spending and savings? If any one or more of these circumstances describe your financial situation, maintaining a budget in place may support you. In fact, creating a solid budget and sticking to it are the very first steps leading to your financial freedom.

Although budgets tend to be great in action, they are hard in theory. Not sure how or where to start budgeting? Whether you have not managed to create a budget plan or are simply facing trouble sticking to your budget, here is your easy, yet effective, step-by-step guide to help you build a budget you can effortlessly follow.

1. Begin with Big Goals

The first thing you must know is that successful budgeting is not centered around what you are sacrificing; rather it focuses on your goals. Thus, make it clear in your mind: WHY you are making a budget. Do you want to get rid of your debts as soon as possible? Are you planning to pay cash to get a vehicle? Do you aim to purchase a home? Do you wish to retire early to travel around the globe? In essence, focus on your big goals as it is the very secret to getting everything you want to achieve.

2. Track your Spending

Before creating a budget plan, you must understand how much you spend every month on various items. And, to determine this you have to identify your budget baseline simply by tracking your spending for the past few months. Thus, go through your recent bank statements, last six months or more, and figure out how much goes towards utilities, food and groceries, mortgage or rent, transportation, shopping, etc. This process will also enable you to identify areas where you often overspend. Consequently, you become more aware of your spending and saving patterns, helping you make better financial decisions.

3. Make the Most of Technology

Technology has made things far easier than most people really know. If you have never made a budget before, are not sure where to begin your budgeting, or simply get frustrated with complex details, using a smartphone app is a good idea. In fact, there are many great budgeting, bookkeeping and finance apps that can connect with your bank accounts and set up a complete budget over a time by using the data from your spending habits.  

4. Give Each of your Dollars a Purpose

When you begin budgeting your each and ever dollar, you are eventually planning for unexpected situations such as spending on a sporadic cup of coffee with your friend. This will also help you put your extra money towards either savings or an emergency fund.  Give your money purpose, down to your every last penny.

5. Set Goals

Your financial goals can wipe the pain out of saving money. The more specific goals you have, the more motivated and excited you are to save money and the more you are inclined to stick to your goals and, thus, budgeting. Your great goals could be saving for a dream vacation with your family or a down payment on a new home.

6. Allow Yourself Some Fun

Besides focusing on your basic needs and financial goals, make a thin line for a little fun as well. If your budgeting plan makes your life boring, you are less likely to go along with it. On the contrary, you will love sticking with a plan that keeps you happy. A few fun categories in your budgeting may include eating out on weekends and saving for winter holidays.

7. Use Cash

It is often easier to overspend, thus, save less when you are using credit or debit cards. Therefore, take out adequate cash on your payday for the budget categories that make sense and tell yourself ‘I cannot get more money, even when I run out.’ Hence, you are done with spending right away when your cash is gone! And, this is simply one of the easiest ways to keep yourself accountable.

8. Automate your Savings

Try transferring part of your paycheck into your savings account as soon as you receive it. This way, you will help minimize your spending and improve your savings. Also, leverage auto withdrawals in order to save for expensive transactions like a vacation or new furniture.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

Woman hand using mobile phone with online transaction application, Concept e-commerce and internet investment
If you want to manage your finances in an effective manner, you need to start by creating a proper budget. Budgeting allows you to limit your spending and track your financials. It keeps you from spending excessively on unnecessary things, allowing you to save heaps of money in the long run. Just like bookkeeping, budgeting can now be done using various tools and apps available online. More and more, businesses are shifting towards the paperless budgeting trends due to environmental factors.

These outstanding budgeting apps will allow you to turn your mobile phone into your very own personal financial advisor.

1. Mint

Mint is recognized as one of the best budgeting apps that is hassle-free and easy to operate. The Mint application is connected to your bank account and can assist you in forming a personalized budget. This app can help you identify the areas where you are spending excessively so that you can allocate your spending in a better manner. The Mint app keeps all of your personal data and accounts secure. It will alert you regarding any unusual charges while also giving you tips on how to reduce your spending.

2. PocketGuard

PocketGuard connects to your bank account to give you accurate information regarding your transactions and remaining balance. It offers complicated data in the simplest form, which is why most users love this application. The home screen displays how much money you have in your pocket currently, your current income, and spending. PocketGuard analyzes your spending patterns and your income to give you a clear picture of your cash flow. This app allows you to identify where you are spending your money, allowing you to cut back on unnecessary expenses. You can pair it with your Apple Watch as well!

3. You Need A Budget

You Need A Budget helps you create an accurate and practical budget that you can easily follow. YNAB is not only focused on building the perfect budget for you, it also provides numerous classes that you can view online in order to learn how to optimize YNAB to save heaps of money in the long run. The trial period lasts for around 34 days and, once it is over, the user has to pay $50 per year or $5 per month to utilize the service.

4. Good Budget

Good Budget offers an incredible digital envelope budgeting system that enables you to manage your finances in an effective manner, without the need for carrying envelopes when you are required to make payments.

Your budget is synced throughout all of your devices, allowing your spouse and family members to know where the spending is occurring. If you want to purchase a car or home and want to save some money for such huge expenses, this app can help you achieve just that.

5. Mvelopes

Mvelopes is an outstanding budgeting app that will help you get your finances back on track. This app also uses the envelope budgeting method to keep track of your finances. Your bank account will be linked to this app and you can pay your bills and plan your expenses through this outstanding app. Moreover, it offers you the ability to capture your receipts for real-time tracking of your expenses and your budget is updated accordingly.

6. Home Budget

Home Budget offers a plethora of options and features to its users, however, it has to be purchased. Home Budget syncs your budget across all of your devices that have Home Budget installed so that your family members know where the money is going. It utilizes a flexible approach towards budgeting and allows users to handle it manually as well. If you prefer to manually manage your budget, this app will be an ideal choice for you.

7. Wally

Wally is a brilliant expense tracker that every individual needs to have on their phone. You can track all of your expenses and spend through this outstanding app in an efficient manner. Not only is it completely free of cost, it allows you to manually enter your expenses via typing or a photo of an actual receipt. Wally will send you alerts when it is time to pay your bills or when a saving goal has been accomplished.

8. Level Money

Level Money helps you keep your finances on track by displaying the amount of money you can spend each day of the week. It has the ability to detect your income and total expenses, and then shows you the amount that you can spend. It also allows you to understand how you can pay off your debt or save for bigger expenses. You can link Level Money to your bank account and set specific goals for saving. It helps you stick to your saving goals through its incredible planning feature. Most of all, it comes free of cost!

9. Spendee

Spendee helps you evaluate how and where you are spending your money, allowing you to better allocate your finances. It offers an extremely simple user interface that allows you to track your finances, along with credit and debit purchases.

Keeping track of your spending will allow you to see where you are spending excessively, causing you to make better purchase decisions and cut down on unnecessary expenses.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

Man using calculator and calculate bills in home office.
When you are planning to save money, you will have to account for all of the transactions and circumstances that currently concern your life. Learning how to save and manage your money at a young age will equip you with the skills to budget your money at any age. When you are young, there aren’t any strings attached, which gives you the liberty to experiment and come up with a plan to budget for your expenses. 

Making smart money moves will ensure that your financial health stays in balance and you have enough set aside for unforeseen situations. 


Budgeting your Money at any Age – The 20’s

The 20’s is a transitional period for students, as they are moving on into their salaried life. For 7 out of 10 students, the average college debt amounted to $30,000 in 2017. Paying off this debt will most likely take years and a highly robust budget management. While budgeting, you must ensure to account for the loans and put aside enough money to pay them off as early as possible. Budgeting for your rent and other living expenses, along with the debt, takes serious effort and money management skills.

Cut back on Non-Essentials

Budgeting your money at any age requires you to make a realistic budget which takes into account even the smallest of expenses. Write everything down in a journal or use a mobile application to keep track of your daily expenditures. Before you can actually start creating a budget, you will need sufficient data from your daily expenditures. Once you have data to explain your spending behaviors, it will be easier for you to set limits on some of the items that are related to entertainment, clothing and other luxury items. These are counted as non-essentials and, once you are accustomed to living without them, you will not even feel the difference, however, it will significantly cut down on your costs.

A 50/30/20 rule is often a good way to manage your expenses. 50% of the money should go to essentials, 30% can be allocated to your wants, while the remaining can be put aside as savings to pay off debt or any other purposes.

Get a Savings Account

Planning to get your own car or a house may require you to save a lot more than 20% of your income and may also require getting a savings account. Forget about the money you put aside into this account and only resort to it according to the plan. Find a savings account that offers a higher interest rate.

Budgeting your Money at any Age – The 30’s

Ideally, once you are in your 30’s, you will have adopted healthy budgeting habits and there will be no more issues related to late payments, unnecessary credit card usage and keeping track of your expenses. This is a career transition phase and there is a high probability that you could get married and have a family. If so, managing your finances becomes even more significant.

Open a Retirement Account

Amidst all the money management paradigm, you must start making contributions to your retirement account. The IRS retirement account is a great option in the case that you do not have an employer-sponsored retirement account. This is one of the most critical times in budgeting your money. Setting up a retirement account at this age will ensure that you put enough into it for a better future down the road.

Emergency Fund

This is something that you should pick up in your late 20’s and carry it forward into your 30’s. You never know how things could turn out, so it is better to be prepared rather than sorry. In case you have not saved up for an emergency fund, you may end up dipping into your retirement account or maxing out your credit cards, which we assume you would clearly not find desirable.

Budgeting your Money at any Age – The 40’s

Whether you have settled into your family life or are still passionately pursuing a career, the 40’s is the best time to lean towards investing money and generating income. This will ensure that you are generating enough side income to pay for luxury goods and fulfill your desires. Making smart investments is key and you should never put all your eggs in one basket.

Generate Alternate Incomes

Even if you are happy with your career advancements and saving enough money for bad times, we suggest that you invest your money into stocks, real estate, trading or any field that is related to your expertise. It will allow for you to maintain a healthy family life while catering to all of your additional expenses. Both your short and long-term goals can be achieved quite early, given that you make smart investment decisions. The best strategy is to diversify your investment portfolio to minimize the risk and avail all of the benefits of budgeting your money.

Revise the Budget

Your saving and spending goals need to be revised amidst growing expenses as you may have a family to look after now as well as life insurance, medical bills and paying off tuition fees.  This can be an arduous task if you fail to make necessary budget amendments.

Budgeting your Money at any Age – The 50’s and Retirement

Now that, hopefully, all debts are paid off and there are no more tuition bills remaining, you can shift your focus towards retirement. Get a hold of your finances and plan exactly for how many more years you want to work and get into some real investments in the areas you have benefited the most from your recent experiences.

Reconsider your Choices

This is the time when you should really start doing what you wanted throughout your life but have been unable to do. For example, if you wanted to travel and couldn’t, you could plan a trip. Make some adjustments in your lifestyle to account for the travel expenses, as we expect you to be a pro at budgeting your money by this age.

Consult a Retirement Planner

Though you have learned to manage your own money by now, it can still prove beneficial to have a second opinion. Consult with a retirement professional and discuss your investment decisions and options. You might be missing out on something which could dramatically increase the return on your investments.

Following the above mentioned budgeting tips will ensure that you retire with grace and freedom.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.