Create a Budget

Create a Budget

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Creating a Budget

Create a budgetSo, you’ve read part one of this series you know why you should have a budget and how it can help you answer some fundamental questions.  If you haven’t read it; read it now.  In this article the question is “how do I create a budget?”  If you have never actually had a written budget it may feel complex. Figuring out how to create a budget can feel confusing, but it doesn’t have to be.

When I talk with people one on one I usually recommend one or two methods depending on the preference of the individual.  I will talk through both here.

Create a budget on Paper.

  1. Gather up all of your bills for the past month.
    If you don’t have them from last month then keep them when they come this month.
  2. Track every penny you spend.
    Do it in a notebook, or keep receipts of your spending or use one debit card for all spending then use the statement to actually make your budget you won’t have to guess.
  3. Put it down on paper.
    If you don’t want to create your own there are plenty of places to find budget templates.  However, searching those out may lead to more confusion so here is a simple budget template to get you started.
  4. Fill in the green spaces that apply to you and the yellow column on the right will tell you what percentage of your income you are spending on any particular category.
  5. You may not need every single line so only use what suits you.  I actually find it most useful to keep categories as broad as possible.  But, you need to do what is right for you and knowing that takes experience, so play with it.
  6. My wife and I have gone through dozens of forms of budgets in our time of trying to organize our finances.

Create a budget with Mint.

  1. Mint is a free online personal finance program. (Also available on mobile platforms)  It is owned by Intuit the same company that owns Quicken and many other programs.  They have been in the business for a long time and they are very reputable and secure.
  2. Sign up for an account on mint.com
  3. Register your primary spending accounts
  4. Mint will automatically pull in your all of your account activity and automatically categorize it for you. (Watch out they are not always accurate)
  5. Use Mints built in budgeting feature to set up the categories for your spending.  Mint will let you know how much you have left in every category.  You can even set up a alerts to let you know.

Having a budget down on paper, even digital paper is the first step in getting your personal finances under control.  There is something about actually writing things down that acts as a commitment device.  But, understand that a budget isn’t set in stone.  Month to month things may vary and you will have to account for that.  For the first few months you should keep a close eye on things and maybe make adjustments as needed.

Series Navigation<< Why do I need a budget?Improve your Budget >>

About the author

Jason administrator

Jason is the founder of Considering Stewardship he has a passion for helping people to steward all of their resources as gifts from God. Time, money, and Talent.

1 Comment so far

Jason Fisher

Jason FisherPosted on9:54 am - Sep 10, 2015

If yo have never created a budget before this series will get you in the right track.

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