Consumers United: Keeping Debt In Control; How Overspending Breaks Your Budget; Basic Budget Worksheet

Budgeting 101

Everything You Need to Know About Budgeting

By Jeremy Vohwinkle, About.com Guide

 

 

Budgeting lies at the foundation of every financial plan. It doesn’t matter if you’re living paycheck to paycheck or earning six-figures a year, you need to know where your money is going if you want to have a handle on your finances. Unlike what you might believe, budgeting isn’t all about restricting what you spend money on and cutting out all the fun in your life. It’s really about understanding how much money you have, where it goes, and then planning how to best allocate those funds. Here’s everything you need to help you create and maintain a budget.

 

1. Budgeting Basics

Do you know why a budget is so important?

 

On the surface it seems like creating a budget is just a tedious financial exercise, especially if you feel your finances are already in good order. But you might be surprised at just how valuable a budget can be.

 

A good budget can help keep your spending on track and even uncover some hidden cash flow problems that might free up even more money to put toward your other financial goals.

 

2. How to Create a Budget

The hardest part of creating a budget is sitting down and actually creating one. It’s like staring at a blank piece of paper when you need to write something and that first step seems like a massive hurdle. Don’t worry–I’ve broken down the budget creation process into a few easy to follow steps. You’ll be able to sit down and create a basic budget in just a few minutes.

3. 3 Traits for Budgeting Success

Once you’re taken the time to create a budget, now it’s time to make sure you follow it. Budgeting can be like going on a diet—you start with good intentions, but after a few weeks or months you drift away from your plan. Don’t let that happen to you. Here are a few basic traits that will ensure budgeting success.

4. Basic Budget Worksheet

If you’re having difficulty coming up with all of the various expense categories for your budget, I’ve created a budget worksheet that can help you organize everything. This worksheet has the most common expenses and can help you keep track of everything in an orderly fashion.

5. How Overspending Breaks Your Budget

The main reason to create a budget is to help you keep your finances under control by keeping track of how much money you’re spending and where it goes.

When you begin to stray from your budget it’s usually because of spending too much money somewhere.

 

But if you have a budget that tells you exactly how much you’re supposed to spend, why is it so easy to overspend? There are a number of reasons we overspend, so when you understand what causes overspending, you can help put a stop to it and keep your budget on track.

6. Try Using Cash to Keep Spending Under Control

Swiping plastic has become incredibly easy. With both credit cards and debit cards, we can be in and out with a purchase in a matter of seconds. 

Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a cost.  

By using plastic we can begin to lose track of how much money is actually being spent. 

Sure, two dollars here, 4 dollars there, it doesn’t seem like much at the time of purchase, but if you aren’t careful they can really add up and bust your budget.

 

One trick to help keep your daily spending under control is to use cash instead of your

credit or debit cards. It might not be as fast, but it helps you visualize just how much

money you’re actually spending.

Related Articles

Managing Money – Budgeting Basics to Help You Create a Budget

Why a Budget is a Good Debt Management Tool

The Secret to Budgeting Successfully

Find the Right Budget Program for You – Budgeting Systems that Work

Financial Planning Basics – Personal Finance 101

http://financialplan.about.com/od/budgetingyourmoney/tp/budgeting-101.htm

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

3 Traits for Budgeting Success

By , About.com Guide

See More About:
[Do not take on more debt to try to get out of debt]

Creating a budget isn’t incredibly difficult, but where most people fail is trying to maintain the budget. It usually starts with good intentions, but just like dieting, it doesn’t take much to derail your entire plan. Here are three traits you must posses if you want to create and maintain a successful budget.

A Positive Attitude

Without a doubt, you need to go into the budgeting process with a positive attitude. If you think of budgeting as a chore, or that you are sacrificing something, you’ll find it is extremely difficult to keep at it.

Don’t think of the negative aspects of a budget, but think about the rewards. If you stick to your budget, what will you achieve? You may get out of debtsooner, you might be able to save money for a family vacation, or even be able to stash more money away for retirement or your child’s education. Whatever your financial goals are, you need to focus on the budget as a tool to reach these goals.

Stay Motivated

Building on the positive attitude, you need to maintain motivation. What can happen over time is that you get into the habit of following your budget, and it all becomes routine. If you lose that motivation, you become complacent.

To become motivated again, consider rewarding yourself, or even increasing your goals. You need to find something that will push you to go the extra mile. If your goal was to have that credit card paid off in eight months and you’ve been plugging along just fine, challenge yourself to pay it off in seven months. If you do, reward yourself with something you’d enjoy.

The feeling of accomplishing your financial goals is intoxicating, so if you can continue to push yourself to reach these goals, you’ll be able to maintain the excitement and motivation needed to keep at it.

Keep Realistic Expectations

One of the biggest budget killers is unrealistic expectations. If you set your sights too high, you only become discouraged when you fail to reach them. While it is admirable to try and accomplish great things, you need to set goals that are challenging, yet realistic.

One way to do this is to start fairly small with short timeframes.

If you create smaller bite-sized goals over the coming months, you can see how likely you are to accomplish them, then, build upon those goals to set your sights a little higher. This is not only a great way to stay motivated, but it also helps keep your goals manageable.

See More About:budgetingsaving moneytracking expenses

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BUDGET WORKSHEET

From Financial Planning at About.com

(http://financialplan.about.com)

-CATEGORY -BUDGET AMOUNT – ACTUAL AMOUNT -DIFFERENCE

INCOME:

Wages and Bonuses

Interest Income

Investment Income

Miscellaneous Income

 

Income Subtotal

INCOME TAXES WITHHELD:

Federal Income Tax

State and Local Income Tax

Social Security/Medicare Tax

 

Income Taxes Subtotal

 

 

Spendable Income

 

EXPENSES:

HOME:

Mortgage or Rent

Homeowners/Renters Insurance

Property Taxes

Home Repairs/Maintenance/HOA Dues

Home Improvements

 

UTILITIES:

Electricity

Water and Sewer

Natural Gas or Oil

Telephone (Land Line, Cell)

 

FOOD:

Groceries

Eating Out, Lunches, Snacks

 

FAMILY OBLIGATIONS:

Child Support/Alimony

Day Care, Babysitting

 

HEALTH AND MEDICAL:

Insurance (medical,dental,vision)

Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses

Fitness (Yoga,Massage,Gym)

TRANSPORTATION:

Car Payments

Gasoline/Oil

Auto Repairs/Maintenance/Fees

Auto Insurance

Other (tolls, bus, subway, taxi)

DEBT PAYMENTS:

Credit Cards

Student Loans

Other Loans

 

ENTERTAINMENT/RECREATION:

Cable TV/Videos/Movies

Computer Expenses

Hobbies

Subscriptions and Dues

Vacations

 

PETS:

Food

Grooming, Boarding, Vet

CLOTHING:

 

INVESTMENTS AND SAVINGS:

401(K)or IRA

Stocks/Bonds/Mutual Funds

College Fund

Savings

Emergency Fund

 

MISCELLANEOUS:

Toiletries, Household Products

Gifts/Donations

Grooming (Hair, Make-up, Other)

 

Miscellaneous Expenses

Total Investments and Expenses

 

 

 

Surplus/Shortage

(Spendable income minus expenses & investments)

 

[Consumers, hold onto to your personal power. META BANK and other banks that are following the same system and approach to banking are not acting as friends at this time. Consumers, it is for you to take control of your own finances. Don’t hand that control over to an anonymous on-line banking sources; these are total strangers. It is for you to take action in your own choices where possible.] 

 

 

For expenses incurred more or less often than monthly, convert the payment to a

monthly amount when calculating the monthly budget. For instance, convert auto

expense that’s billed every six months to a monthly amount by dividing the six-month

premium by six. This money should be kept separate from your other money so it’s

available when the bill becomes due.

 

http://financialplan.about.com/library/n_budget.htm

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: