With the new year here it always seems like everyone is making a list of goals around this time of year. One thing that I always think about at the start of every year it money. How much do I need? How much will this coming year cost? Everyone has different needs and wants; different expenses and spending's. Some things really take planning like paying for tuition, having a baby, buying a new vehicle, buying a home, and even just every day items.
In my Family Finance class I learned that budgeting is very important.
To make things run you've got to know what you're making and where your money is going. This is true for everyone. You don't have to be married to have a budget plan. Start now. I have learned you are less stressed if you know how much money you have and where it is going.
Here is one idea that I took from my class and it has helped me. At the first of the year make 2 spread sheets in excel. These 2 spreed sheets are for your spending's category. Title each as followed
1. Projected Spending's for 2013
2. Actual Spending's for 2013
You are going to make these look exactly the same. Only at the end of the year they are going to have different numbers plugged into each of them. On both of these in the first row across enter the 12 months in the year in 12 columns. Now on the far right column write down each category of expenses. Here is an example:
J F M A M J J A S O N D Totals
Totals For the Year
Everyone's list will be unique to their situation, but this is an example. Now on your excel sheet on the far right corner there is a little symbol that looks like a backwards Z. You can use this to add all of the spending's up for each month at the bottom and also at the end for each separate item (ex: Groceries $300 a month, at the far right it will add it all up for you to say $3600 for the total year).
What works great is pull up your Projected Spending excel sheet for the year and punch in all the numbers of what you might spend for the year in each category (ex. $90.00 per month for Gas, $50 per month for the Phone, $150 in August for car registrations, if you know you will have a baby in October maybe call your insurance and ask how much more they will add to your insurance. From that month on add $100.00 per a month on your insurance from what you payed before for your new baby, Furniture $200.00 in October for a new crib.) You get how it goes.
Complete this and you will have a running total on how much you might spend each month and what the total will be at the end of the year. Make sure you put enough in for miscellaneous items because you never know when you might have your washing machine go out and you have to buy a new one. (It is great when you get to the end of the year and you spent less then you had planned).
Now, you just save this on your computer in a file and you can always look at it. Now on your Actual Spending's Excel Sheet you will fill this out at the end of each month, compare it to your Projected Spending's Sheet and see how well you are staying on track with your budget plan.
You can do this a lot of different ways: Keeping track online, watching your credit card and debit card statements, watching your checkbook, keeping receipts, keeping an index card in your wallet and writing what, when and how much you spend, etc.
All of these ways are great. Find what works for you and do it. This isn't hard at all and after you set up your excel sheet once, you can use it year after year. All you do is sit down 12 times out of the year and catch up on how you are doing at the end of each month.
Budgeting can be stressful, but make a goal this year to not let it be stressful and know where your money is going. Try it and see! You might be surprised to see how much money you can save in areas that you have never thought of before!
Here are some ideas to look at and use or even create your own that works best for you: