How to Create A Budget and Actually Stick to It
No matter what age you are, I’m sure at some point you had a hard time making and sticking to a budget. Well, I’m right there with you. It’s hard to save your money and set financial goals when you are unaware of how much money is actually coming in and going out. A budget is simply a way to intentionally monitor your saving and spending.
It’s important to realize that money is a tool, and how you manage it all lies within an intentional money mindset. A budget allows you to have control over your money without your money controlling you. If it is used properly, a budget can help you create freedom and space for the things you want in life. Here’s how you can create a budget that works for you:
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Track Your Spending.
Before you even start making your budget, you want to analyze your current spending habits. By tracking your spending, you can see where your money goes, so you can see how you will adjust your saving and spending.
Calculate Your Monthly Income.
The first step in creating a budget is to calculate your earnings. You want to know how much money is actually coming in before you start cashing out on impromptu Target trips and Starbucks runs. This step will serve as the foundation of your budget.
Add Your Fixed Monthly Expenses.
After you have calculated your monthly income, add up your fixed monthly expenses (i.e. bills, bills, bills). Whether it’s rent, your cell phone bill, or student loans, write it down and add it up.
Set Your Financial Goals.
Determine what financial goals you want to accomplish. Is it paying off your school loans? Setting up an emergency funds account? Building your credit score? Setting these goals will allow you to tailor your budget so you can create freedom and financial peace.
Set aside money for tithes.
Before you even go to pay your bills, make sure that you are setting at least 10% of your paycheck aside for tithes and offering. Remember that everything you earn belongs to Lord. Show Him your gratitude by incorporating tithing and offering into your budget, and watch how He blesses your finances.
Determine your miscellaneous expenses.
Now that you have set your goals and put tithing first, you can determine how much money you want to keep and save for yourself. After your tithes and bills are paid, it’s important that you are putting money aside for yourself. Make it a habit of putting a certain percentage of money away to invest in yourself or business.
Live below your means.
The best way to know if you are living below your means is to determine your cash flow. Subtract your income from your expenses to make sure that you are saving more than you spend. Remember it’s all about quality over quantity. You don’t have to keep up with the Jones. Delayed gratification is all about sacrificing now so you can reap the reward later.
It’s actually quite easy to create a budget. The challenge is in the maintaining and monitoring aspect. Set a reminder at the end of each week to monitor and stay on top of your budget.
It doesn’t matter how you keep your budget. Mint is a great app for budgeting that allows you to track and monitor your spending online. Prefer the old-fashioned method for budgeting? No worries! I’ve created an excel budget template for you to keep up with your income and expenses. Click the button below to download your free budget template. (Please Note: If you’re on my email list, this template is available in the Resource Closet.)**