A budget helps you make sure you will have enough money every month. Also, your budget can help you save money for the future. Without a budget, you might run out of money before your next paycheck. Here are some tips:
Start a budget by gathering your bills and pay stubs.
Think about how you spend money, besides paying your bills. For example, do you buy a cup of coffee every day? After a month, that coffee money could add up to an expense you might write down.
Start by, writing down your expenses. You might have bills that change every month. Look at what you paid for the same month last year. You might need $200 for your gas bill in January, but $30 in July.
Next, write down how much money you make. Including any other money you get, like child support.
Finally, Subtract your expenses from how much money you make. This number should be more than zero. If it is less than zero, you are spending more money than you make. Look at your budget to see what you do not need or what you could spend less on.
How do I use my budget?
- At the beginning of the month, make a plan for how you will spend your money that month. Write what you think you will earn and spend.
- Write down what you spend. Try to do this every day.
- At the end of the month, see if you spent what you planned.
- Use the information to help you plan the next month’s budget.
Use this Budget Worksheet to help you.
How else can I save money?
- For one month, write down everything you spend. Small expenses, like a cup of coffee, can add up to a lot of money. When you know where you are spending your money, you can decide what you might not want to buy.
- Pay with your credit card only if you can pay the full amount when the bill comes. That way, you do not pay interest on what you owe.
- Pay your bills when they are due. That way, you will not owe late fees or other charges.
- Keep the money you are saving separate from the money you spend.
- Consider opening a savings account in a bank or credit union. Read more about opening a bank account.
- If you keep cash at home, keep the money you are saving separate from your spending money. Keep all your cash someplace safe.
It can be hard to save money even during the holidays. Here are some reasons to try to save money even when it is not easy.
- Emergencies – Saving small amounts of money now might help you later. Everyone has expenses they do not expect.
- Expensive things – Sometimes, we have to pay for expensive things – like a car, a trip, or a security deposit on an apartment. You will have more choices if you have money to pay for those expensive things.
- Your goals – You might want to pay for college classes. Maybe you need to visit family in another country. You can plan for these goals and save money. Then you might not have to use a credit card or borrow money to pay.
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