Basic Budget Questions Beginners Need to Answer
Getting started on a budget can be overwhelming for beginners. We’ve got answers to the basic budget questions you may need answered, and a free planner to get started!
1. How Do I know if I need a budget?
Let’s start with the word budget, too often there is a negative meaning attached to this word. A budget is not a ball and chain sort of prison. You define the budget you set up. If you want to budget $1,000 a month on clothing then you can (although I do not suggest that at all). Dave Ramsey said it best by stating “a budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went”. In sort, everyone needs a budget.
2. How will I know how much to budget?
First you must determine what your income is. That will be the amount you budget. From there you will calculate the total cost for all of your expenses. It’s best to do this using a line item for each expense. (Total income – Expenses #1 = Amount leftover. Amount leftover – Expense #2 = Amount Leftover #2) Your budget is a reflection of you, so be honest with yourself, include EVERYTHING.
3. What if I don’t make enough money?
Rest assured, you are not alone. This is a very common place to be. However, your goal should be to have a zero dollar amount at the end of the month, with savings included. If your end of the month budget leaves you in the negative it’s important to your financial health that you do whatever it takes to fix that. This may mean no fast food, no cable, or a new job. See my Cheap Grocery List for a Family of Four HERE!
4. What if I don’t make a consistent amount of money?
This is the boat my husband and I find ourselves in and it does tend to be stressful, especially if a certain season brings in more or less than another. However, there is hope. Depending on your situation it could take some time but the bottom line is this, you’ll need to monitor how much you make over a serious of months verses just one month. Average how much you make over that amount of time, my husband and I budget for the lower dollar verses the higher dollar because that is a more dependable number for us. If a certain season is more productive than another it is even more so important for you to set money aside into a savings account to help get you through the period of time with less income.
5. How can I keep track of what I’m spending?
The simple way is a good ole’ fashion pencil and notebook with cold hard cash. If that isn’t something you are comfortable with or you think you will forget to write an expense down then I suggest daily monitoring of your online bank accounts. Doing this with your spouse is a great way to open up conversations and overcome the dreaded money talks. Additionally there is an app for your phone known as Mint. This is not the most dependable way as it does have a delay but when used properly it can be a good learning tool for overcoming basic budget questions.
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