Friday, June 25, 2010

Financial Friday - Budgeting, Part 1

I don't know when part 2 will be, but I'm sure there will be one some time.

I can't tell you how important budgeting is. Budgeting your income & expenses can save your marriage and keep you out of trouble.

Budgeting helps keep track of your money come in and your money going out. You should have every dollar accounted for. Give every dollar a place to go instead of wondering where it all went. It will keep you out of debt (or even help you get out of debt), help you save for major purchases and even for your future and/or retirement. It is also very important to know your finances and to be as involved as possible. This will help strengthen your marriage or relationship with your partner. DH and I have weekly discussions about our finances, to make sure we're on the same page and on top of things. And sometimes we get to talking about plans for the future, we get excited again and that just amps us up to keep on our budget!

How to Budget:
One of the main things and most important things to grasp is to LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS. You don't want every dollar you make to go to bills and debt do you? You want to be able to have a little fun. Now, I'm a "spreadsheet" and "list" kind of girl, so if you've never made a budget before, here is how you can get started.

1) Make an income column and an expense column (leave out credit cards for now). I also have a column for dates so I know about when things should be coming in and going out. You can place your items in chronological order so you know which bill to pay first.
2) As you pay bills, you can enter in the information (date & amount).
3) You can generally estimate what your expenses will be, and from there you can figure out how much money you will have left over for credit cards. Estimating these numbers will help keep your budget on track.
4) With the left over money (hopefully) from your expenses, make a seperate column area for debt. As you pay bills, you can enter in the information (date & amount).
5) If you have any money left over at the end of the month, you can apply that to savings, or apply it to your next month.

Hopefully this can help give you an idea of the importance of budgeting and where exactly your money is going. Since we've used this budget AND LIVED BELOW OUR MEANS, we have paid off about $15,000 of debt (including car loan, credit cards, etc.) We've got lots to go, especially with a new home now :) But keeping on the budget has helped us SO much. Hopefully it helps you too.

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