Organise your money: Day 5 - set your monthly budget
Welcome to day five of this "Organise Your Money" series. On day one we recorded the details of the bills you pay regularly. On day two we created a register to record these payments. On day three we tracked your income. On day four we listed your variable expenses. Today we'll be setting your monthly budget.
Setting a monthly budget can take time but the good news is that you’ve already done most of the hard work. Now that you have all the information you need, you can create your monthly budget.
Below is an easy step-by-step guide to creating your household budget each month. The first budget you do will take the longest but you’ll find that it will become quicker and easier each time. You will need to create a new budget for each month so make an appointment in your planner at the end of each month to set next month’s budget.
HOW TO SET YOUR MONTHLY HOUSEHOLD BUDGET
1. Open Our Monthly Budget printable. This document contains 12 blank budget sheets, one for each month of the year. Print out next month’s page.
2. Gather together the documents that you've completed this week:
3. Using your Income Tracker, write down the types of income you expect to receive next month under 'Income' and the amount you expect to receive in the 'Budget' column. Another, perhaps better way to do this is to write down the income you received last month and budget to that instead. This way you’re never living outside of your means.
4. Calculate your income total and put that figure at the bottom of the column – your expenses will need to equal this amount exactly.
5. Using your Bill Schedules and Variable Expenses sheets to help you, list your budget categories and the items within each category.
6. Then write the amounts you will spend on each item in the 'Budget' column, ensuring the total at the bottom exactly equals your income total. In other words, every cent you earn will be spent. The best way to do this is to begin with your bills, then put your debt payments and savings contributions, then add the more important variable expenses (such as groceries and savings) and finally attribute the rest to the fun stuff (like entertainment).
7. At the end of the month, calculate what you actually spent in each category and enter these amounts in the 'Actual' column. Then calculate and write down the 'Difference'.
And that’s it! Remember to track your spending throughout the month so that you can track exactly where your money goes and always review your budget at the end of each month.
Now is the time to set yourself some goals to save towards, whether it’s an overseas holiday or just to pay off the mortgage sooner, budgeting is the way to achieve your financial goals.