Making a personal budget and sticking to it may seem confusing and hard at first but it is well worth the effort. You may feel like living on a budget is constricting but it can actually be quite freeing once you learn what works for you.
The first thing you should do when you’ve decided to make your average family budget is to write down all your bills and outgoing payments or you can enter this into a number of different software or online options. Second you will want to know how much income you are bringing in each month. This part can be tricky if you work in any type of occupation that does not have consistent income. You will want to include all income such as child support (especially important for the single mom budget), monthly bonuses, and commission. The best way to estimate income if you don’t have a regular paycheck schedule is to look back over the last 4 payment cycles add them together and then divide them by the number of weeks in the cycles. Then you can multiply that number by 52 (the number of weeks in the year) and divide by 12. This will give you a good estimate of what your monthly income is.
Now that you know how much goes out and how much comes in make a bare bones budget just the basics print it out or write it down and put a copy in your wallet or purse. For the first month of your budget track all you’re spending. I know this may sound time consuming but you only need to do it for one month. This step is important because it will help you to flesh out your budget and make it more real to your everyday living. You may not even realize that you spend $80 a month at the local coffee shop or $50 buying snacks from the office vending machine.
Once you can see where your money is going you can move it around to where you want it to go. Living a personal budget may take some getting used to but once you’ve got it down you’ll be forever reaping the rewards of smart money management.