Budgeting Control: 10 Tips
Curious about budgeting control and 10 tips to help you manage your budget? Budgeting control allows you to keep track of where your money goes each month. When you know exactly how much money you are spending and on what, you will be able to cut back on excess spending and meet your financial goals. Follow these 10 tips to take control of your budget.
- Keep track of every purchase for at least a month. Even if you are just buying a cup of coffee or a candy bar, record the amount you spent every time you buy something. You can carry around a small notebook to jot everything down or save each receipt.
- Sort everything into categories. You have set expenses each month, such as your rent or mortgage and car payment. Create a spreadsheet and categorize your expenses. Variable expenses may include utilities, groceries, entertainment and student and other loans.
- Know your income. Being aware of how much money you earn each month is key for budgeting control. If you do not know how much you make, you are likely to overspend. If your income fluctuates from month to month, look at your income from the previous year or two and divide that amount by twelve.
- Do not forget about the occasional expenses. You may only pay your car insurance or a doctor's bill once or twice a year. Account for those expenses by dividing the total by twelve and adding that amount to your monthly budget.
- Put some money into your savings account. Before you spend your money on anything else, put a set amount into your retirement or other savings account each month.
- Pay off your debts. If you have credit card debt or if you want to pay down a student loan quickly, be sure to include that in your budget. Once the debt is paid off, you can funnel the money you had budgeted for debt repayment into your savings accounts.
- Establish an emergency fund. When you first start budgeting, set aside a little each month until you have between three and six months worth of income saved. Creating an emergency fund will help you stay on budget should you lose your job or if some other unforeseen circumstance occurs.
- Figure out what you can cut out. Once you have tracked your expenses for a month or two and have determined that you are overspending, decide what can go. If you spend $15 on coffee a week or $30 on lunch out, see if you can reduce or eliminate those expenses by making lunch at home or by bringing your own coffee to work.
- Use cash when you can. Paying for groceries or dinner out with a credit or debit card will help you blow your budget. When you pay with cash, you will not be able to spend more than you have.
- Pay attention to sales and coupons. Keep your budget under control by browsing the sales fliers and clipping coupons to get a good deal. Most grocery stores discount products on a twelve-week cycle. Keep your eyes open and when the food you eat most goes on sale, swoop in and stock up.