By Maryalene LaPonsie
Money Talks News, moneytalksnews.com
Regardless of whether you want to save more, spend less, or finally take that trip to Tahiti, a budget can get you there.
Step 1: Set Your Goals
The first step in the budget process is simple. Ask yourself: What do you want your money to do for you? Here are some ideas to get the wheels turning.
• Do you want it to buy you a vacation?
• Do you want it to buy you a house?
• Do you want it as a security blanket in the bank?
• Or would you merely be happy if it would pay the bills each month with a little left over?
Budgeting can help with each and every one of these goals. In addition, by having a concrete goal, you increase your chances of sticking to your budget. Some people even create dream or vision boards with photos representing their goal to motivate themselves.
Step 2: Track Your Expenses
Next, you need to get a handle on where you are already spending your money. This step is important for two reasons.
1. It can help identify leaks in your budget, such as the $100/month you’re spending on fast-food breakfasts.
2. It can help you make a realistic budget. If you are currently spending $800/month on groceries, budgeting for $500 is probably setting yourself up for failure.
The old-fashioned way to track expenses is to collect your receipts and keep a log of every penny you spend for the next month. However, you can make the process much simpler by signing up for an online money management tool like PowerWallet or Mint. These services track your expenses automatically and neatly categorize them for you. Best of all, most of them don’t cost you a dime.
Step 3: Write It Down
Now that you’ve tracked your expenses, you can use those amounts as a guide to create a written budget. Whether you use an online tool, Excel spreadsheet, or a notebook and pen is up to you, but you want to have your budget recorded in a location where it can be easily…
Read the full story on our website at https://www.helpwithmoney.org/consumertoolsandresources/6budgettips.