Planning a yearly budget is often the difference between adopting healthy spending habits and wasting money on what you do not require. Creating an annual budget is a great way to motivate yourself and set up financial goals, which is a significant factor in leading a prosperous life. Before you can proceed with accurate budgeting, you need to understand how a budget works. If you have put aside $100 for your groceries and are continuously spending more than that, you would have to reallocate that money to groceries from some other expense to offset the difference. You can increase the grocery budget for the next cycle, but this one, you would have to deal with what is in hand.
Planning a yearly budget
Planning a budget requires a one-time effort and, once you get it right, you can permanently alter it a bit and prepare for the following year. For someone looking to create a yearly budget, there are some methods to go about doing it.
- Paper budget
- Use a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel.
- Online budgeting software that is free of charge
- Optimized budgeting software used by businesses.
However, you do not need professional software for a personal budget, and keeping a simple excel sheet will do the job. It requires only minimal bookkeeping tactics. What matters is your ability to make sense out of past information and accurately predict your future expenses. Gather all your previous credit card statements, utility bills, bank statements, receipts, and everything else from the past year and before, which will assist you in figuring out your past earnings and spending trails. The more information you have, the better your future projection for a yearly budget will be.
If you are unsure about where and how to spend your money, there is a simple rule to follow. Researchers developed the 50/30/20 rule, and it is effective in its use. 50% of your income should go to your needs, 30% to your wants, while you should save the remaining 20%. Of course, you can save a lot more than that or change the percentages to suit your needs, but the main idea is to follow a specific plan and stick to it.
Controlling and managing your expenses is a critical element of budgeting. Forecast your fixed and variable costs for your yearly budget. Some fixed costs will be the same for each month, such as mortgage payments or loan payments. Make unique expense categories in planning an annual budget to place each expense so that you can identify the exact reason for the occurred cost. You may need to create subcategories as well, depending on the nature of the payment. Therefore, be prepared to innovate and create sections based on your ease. Some of the most common expenses are listed below.
- Mortgage, rent, maintenance.
- Car loans, student loans
- Food and groceries
Scrutinize the cash flow and balance the budget
Subtract all expenses from the income and see how much cash you are left with. Once you know the exact amount you are left with, you can decide to spend, save, or invest. Examine if your income is covering all expenses and, if it is not, you will have to rework your yearly budget. There are only two options in such a scenario. You can either earn more or decrease your spending. It is more convenient to reduce spending, and most people will choose that, but there is always an option to make more.
You should know the 50/30/20 rule. You cannot live without your needs. However, you are spending an enormous 30% on your wants, which would most likely balance the income and expenses if cut down. Planning a yearly budget requires you to adjust your lifestyle and balance things out. You can probably go a little longer between haircuts, cut down on the days you eat out, and even take public transport for work on some days. You can develop ways to reduce your expenses and carefully balance things out with a bit of creativity.
You can easily cut down some of the variable expenses. However, fixed payments are more complicated as it is easier not to buy a new fragrance than to shift your living to lower rent or mortgage. The basic idea of a yearly budget is to bring your income and expenses to an optimum level where they balance out and leave you with enough cash to save or pay off your debts.
Planning for the next year
Planning a yearly budget is a work in progress, and it would be wrong to perfectly place all the categories according to your lifestyle and spending. You will learn from previous experiences and make suitable adjustments for the next year as you are now better prepared to face the challenge.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud platform where their QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools are hosted in an efficient SSO environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.