Money management is a critical skill necessary to keep your finances on track and prevent debts from spiraling out of control. Here is a step-by-step guide to teach you how to build a monthly budget that you can follow and calculate exactly how much you can spend without going into debt.
1 – Start by preparing a spreadsheet and fill in the net monthly income that comes into the household. The net monthly income will be the amount that you are left with after all the taxes and other expenses have been deducted from your paycheck.
2 – Then in a separate column, start listing your fixed monthly expenses. These expenses will include all the necessities of life such as food and shelter. Please fill out all the expenses that come out of your bank account on a monthly basis like rent, insurance, car payments, loans, cable television and phone bills.
3 - In the next column, fill out the amount of money that you set aside each month for savings. If you do not have a savings account then this is the perfect opportunity to start one and set aside a small portion of your income for an emergency fund.
4 - Then in the following column, fill out the amount of money that you allocate for debt repayment. Make sure that you know exactly how much debt you have outside of your mortgage and car. If you don't know, you should contact your bank and credit card companies to calculate the total amount of debt that you have, so you can begin a repayment schedule and factor that into the spreadsheet.
5 – Add up the total amounts under each column and then subtract it from your total monthly income. The number you have left over is the amount of money that you have to budget with each and every month.
6 - Take the total amount left and divide it up into separate categories for restaurant dining, transportation, clothing, and entertainment. Adjust the numbers according to how much you need for each.
7 – The final numbers will provide you with a budget for each category and a road map to follow that ensures that you are not overspending and going into debt.
Following the tips outlined above will allow you to track your monthly expenses, but if you find yourself in need of financial services, you should consult with an accountant, such as Dale K. Cline, CPA PLLC.