How to Make a Budget

You’ve got goals and you’re determined to achieve them. One of the biggest steps you can take to help you move forward is to learn how to make a budget. Once you’ve got a firm grasp on how much you spend regularly and how much money is coming in, then you can begin sculpting your budget to accomplish your dreams.

We’ve pulled together some budgeting tips that will help you get started creating your own personal budget. Since everyone’s lifestyle is different, these tips are meant as guidance and can be adapted to fit your unique situation. Let’s get started!

Start with your income. Your income should be fairly easy to calculate but it’s also easy to get a little carried away. Remember that a certain amount of your gross income is used to pay taxes and other fees before you even see the check. Starting with your net income gives you a more realistic view of what money is at hand and it takes care of the tax budgeting portion of your task before you even get started.

Make a list of your fixed expenses. There are certain bills that you pay every month and they’re the same amount each time. Create a list of these expenses as they form the base of your expenses.

Review your fluctuating bills. You probably have several bills you pay each month but the amount varies; like your credit card, utilities, grocery expenses, etc. If you have records of your past bills, take them and find the average for your budgeting purposes. This is typically a place to revisit if you’re looking to trim a little out of your expenses.

List your financial goals. Think about all of your financial goals, long-term and short-term, and then prioritize them. If a new car is vital as yours is on its last leg, then this short-term goal may be your first priority. If starting your own business is your dream, then you may need a long-term approach.

Gather the data and make adjustments. Now it’s time to look at your income, your expenses and your financial goals. Are you saving where you should or are there places that you’re over spending? What can you do to adjust your spending habits to make sure you hit your goals?

Get detailed. One budgeting trick is to get very detailed about every dollar you spend. You may have forgotten your soy latte addiction when you created your budget but when you get detailed and note everything, you notice how that daily treat really adds up. You may be surprised at what you find and you may impress yourself with clever and creative ways to save.

Review and follow. Making a monthly budget is a great first step but it really only works if you follow it and review it frequently.

If you want to be more hands-on in achieving your goals, visit and start your own Dream Workbook for interactive tasks and insights.

The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with an attorney or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.

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Related Topics: Finance , Saving Money