How to Budget Effectively

How to Budget Effectively

Okay, all this talk about a budget. You know what a budget is and why you should have one, but how to budget effectively?

In the beginning, a good idea is to keep track of everything you spend money on for 1 month. You can set it up in a notebook with three columns, one for the description of what you bought, the second for your income, and the third for what you spend.

On this form, you must record everything. Even if you just spend a dollar on a soda, record it because in the end, both sides need to balance out. This is a good habit to keep up all the time, but it isn’t necessary.

Next, you need to examine what you’ve bought. Sort through it and decide which expenses are fixed expenses, or expenses that are for the same amount every month. These types of expenses are most often bills like cell phone bill, insurance, etc.

How to budget effectively requires you to list all these expenses. Write down next to them the amount to be spent.

Then look at the things you spent money on that were changing, such as snacks, movie tickets, gas, and gifts. Gas should be made one section. Take how much you spend in one week and multiply it by 4, for one month. If you spend $20 a week, put aside $80 a month for gas.

I have a certain amount of money set aside each month for gifts, whether I have any gifts to buy that month or not. It’s a really good idea. All you have to do is calculate about how much you will spend in a year on gifts and divide it by 12. This will come in really handy at Christmas time. If you have to pay for your own clothes or personal hygiene products, it may be a good idea to do the same with these necessities.

Now, for the remaining categories, you need to use your own discretion. Use a Budget Calculator to Calculate how much you spent on everything else which should include food, the movies, mini golf, books, clothes, and just about anything you chose to spend for fun or your own amusement. Does it seem like an outrageous number?Did you spend $300 dollars in one month on this stuff? I can tell you, as a teenager that is outrageous.

Depending on how old you are, you should make this expense anywhere between $20 and $100.Although, I think $100 is even a little steep. Set this amount aside every month and stick to it. You may even find yourself saving some of it for more exciting months. If you put aside $50 a month and you only spend $35, by the end of the year you’ll have an extra $180 that you can spend on something big to treat yourself.

Knowing how to budget effectively will lead to improving your financial situation

Every month, you should spend your first paychecks on important bills. Set up a little file system and put aside each expense in a slot. Look at all your expenses as a bill including fun money and gifts. Let’s say you get paid weekly and your expenses add up to $200. If your paychecks are for $100, you can set aside all your expense money in the first two weeks and then the checks for the rest of the month can go right to savings.

After you pay for each expense for the month, cross them out so that you know that they have been paid. You don’t want to pay any bill more than once.

Now that you know how to budget your money, learn how to budget your time, and you’ll be on your way to feeling rich!

Why Should I Budget?

Why Should I Budget

So Why Should I Budget?  You know what a budget is and you still aren’t convinced that this inconvenience will be of any benefit for you. Why should you budget? Why is a budget important?

A budget is important for people of all ages, from teenagers to retirees. It’s critical to budget if you want to get the most out of your money.  This can lead to financial freedom!

When you start a budget, in the beginning, it might seem very constricting. You feel like you can’t just go out and buy something on a whim. That’s partly true. You can’t just go out and blow fifty bucks whenever you feel like it, but it isn’t that strict.  There are some great budget templates out there.

When allotting yourself a certain amount of fun money, you can spend that whenever you want. You just have to remember that once it’s gone, you’re done for the month. Of course, this doesn’t include emergencies such as car trouble.

It’s important to put this restriction on your finances so that you are able to save. Saving money is the easiest way for teens to make money. Like they say, a penny saved is a penny earned.

So then, why should I budget? You should budget not only to teach yourself self control and learn good habits when you are older, but so that you are able to save money.

Having money saved will keep you out of trouble in case of emergency and will allow you to have money for the big things such as a car, or vacation. But I believe the biggest benefit of a budget, especially today, is the fact that it will help keep you out of debt.

With a budget, you keep yourself in check and will always know what you can afford. Debt is a horrible thing to have because it can affect so many parts of your life, including relationships, and even just your own happiness and stress levels.

You must remember that a budget isn’t magic. Just because you plan out your expenses, it doesn’t mean you will have money to pay for everything of your dreams. Just because you stick something in your budget, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Everything has to be balanced out between what you make and what you spend.

Budgeting is a great way to make money as long as you look at it the right way!

What is a Budget?

what is budgeting

What is a budget exactly? A budget is an estimate of expected income and expense for a give period of time in the future. But what is that really? This means that after you cash your check, you don’t blow half of it on the way home. Instead, you take all of what you make from any job you may have and you plan it all out. Every dime is accounted for.

Instead of just paying bills when they come in and buying whatever you want whenever you want you have to plan it out. Most people are probably used to this, but it could cause a lot of problems. You might forget which bills were paid off for which month. It’s important to be organized when it come to money.

You must have all your expenses planned out and set up for each month. This way you know exactly what you need to spend each month. When you have all your bills planned out, you don’t have to worry if you remembered to pay them all.

Even if you don’t get formal bills a budget will help you keep track of all your expenses. Maybe you just give your parents money to pay for your cell phone. In fact, this could be easier to mix up if you don’t keep track. You might end up paying twice for one month. I’m sure you don’t want to do that.

In your expenses, you must include everything you could possibly spend money on, including fixed expenses such as gas and insurance, but also variable expenses such as fun money, and money for gifts.If you have a set amount, you won’t go over. You must budget out every dollar you make.

By spending this way, you will always be spending nearly the same amount every month and may just have room to start saving. I’ve been budgeting since I was about 16 and although sometimes I go off of it, it has helped me organize a lot. Also, I’ve gotten my spending under control and I have been able to save for a lot of important things such as a car and college tuition.

Budgeting Your Money & Enjoy The Benefits

Budgeting

When you get your paycheck, is it usually gone a few days later? You probably feel like you don’t get paid enough because you’re always running out of money. That may be the case, but it’s probably not.

Spending money so quickly and frivolously is not good for many reasons:

  1. The obvious reason, you have no more money, so you can’t buy anything until your next payday.
  2. If you’ve already run out of money, most likely, you haven’t saved anything.
  3. You are setting yourself up for a future lifestyle of living paycheck to paycheck.

If this is the case, you probably don’t live by a budget. Most people don’t. A budget is not just for adults, teens should budget, too. A budget is an estimate of expected income and expense for a give period of time in the future. With a budget, you would have a careful plan for every dollar you make and spend.This probably sounds tedious, time consuming, and not worth your time.

But wait! What if I told you that with a budget you would have more money? Yes, now I have your attention. Okay, maybe you won’t actually have more money, but you will save more if done properly and carefully.

In this section, you will learn the importance of budgeting, different ways to budget, and more. Read on if you want to stop worrying about your money and learn how to budget.

Articles on Budgeting

What is a Budget?– If you’re clueless about budgeting, try here to learn the basics.

Why should I Budget?– The benefits of budgeting and why it is so important.

How to Budget– Tips on how to start a budget and how to get started.

Quick Budgeting Tips That’ll Save You Big!

Quick Budgeting Tips

Helping you make better spending decisions is a primary purpose of this blog. Sticking to them is the other.  These budgeting tips require little time and effort, but will have a major impact on your savings account.

There are a two ways your brain is hard-wired that make better spending decisions hard.

  • Adaptation to pleasure
  • Mis-predicting pleasure

Budgeting Tips – Adaptation to Pleasure

Our brains are hardwired to notice novelty. When an experience is new you get a lot of pleasure Quick Budgeting Tips For Being Happyfrom it. As you continue to have the same experience, you get less pleasure from it over time. Pleasure turns to comfort, and disappointment can set in. “I thought this would make me happier. Now I’m disappointed because I’m not as happy with this as I thought I would be.”

The second reason we adapt to pleasure is that our reference point changes. Maybe you get a new job and you’re making $10,000 more a year than you were before. You’re thrilled. Then you find out that you’re making 5% less than the next newest employee. Now you aren’t thrilled – your reference point has changed. Instead of comparing to what you used to make, you are now comparing to what you could be making.

Budgeting Tips – Mispredicting Pleasure

We consistently predict that things will make us happier or more miserable than they actually do.

The extreme example of this is lottery winners vs. accident victims. Several studies in psychology show that the strongest predictor of a person’s level of happiness after their circumstances change is their level of happiness before the change. Of course, this isn’t true immediately after the change, but over time people tend to revert to a sort of happiness “setpoint”.

Of course, accident victims are less happy than they were before – the point is the different is MUCH smaller than anyone would expect.

And this more recent study also confirms that the immediate impact of change in circumstances is much bigger than the long-term effect.

Daniel Kahneman calls this the hedonic treadmill. We seek pleasure, and novel experiences provide it, but then we adapt and the pleasure turns to comfort. We continue to seek pleasure, but now it takes another new thing to produce it, so we are always on the treadmill looking for the next “hit”.

Better Spending Decisions – The 5-Minute Solution

Budget Calculator
Budget Calculator – Create a Budget in Less Than 5 Minutes!

OK, so you’d like to get off the treadmill, but you still want to experience the pleasure, right?  This simple practice can help you make better

First, become mindful of your spending AND how much enjoyment it brings you. Just writing down what you spent helps you budget, but it doesn’t help you evaluate how your budget fits into your life.

Personal note: Those “write down everything you spend for 30 days” journal suggestions used to make me crazy! I hate!!! keeping records (you’ll hear me say that often). However, this way is relatively painless and it helps me learn more about what spending decisions are satisfying over the long term and which ones are not.

How to Implement These Budgeting Tips

Ourdebtfreelives’s website has a lot of great articles on creating a budget.  Regular bills don’t usually factor into your “joy index” unless you buy a new house or do something else unusual. For example, this week I bought a new cell phone and case, an exercise ball and a poster with exercises on it. I added those items to my spreadsheet, but not the regular monthly bills I paid.

Here are your columns:

  • item
  • category
  • amount
  • was it a need or a want?
  • Joy index – scale of 1 – 10
  • 1 mo. followup joy index
  • 3 mo. followup joy index (unless 1 month was 0)
  • 6 mo. followup joy index (unless 3 month was 0)

You can track this daily or weekly (I enter any new items daily, but only review once a month). If you wait longer than that it will probably seem like a bigger chore than it is. Over time, as you watch your satisfaction with each item decrease it becomes a little easier to remind yourself before you spend the money that the joy you experience from any given purchase is probably going to be short-lived.  Another way to increase savings is by increasing your income.  We have a great article on Sideline Business Models to get you that extra income.

 

Budgeting Tips – Final Thoughts

Give yourself time for this to make a difference in your spending decisions. Some of the research in this area used professors in the field as test subjects and they were no less prone to mis-predict pleasure or to adapt to it than others who were not familiar with the concept. If even the professionals fall for this, you shouldn’t get too down on yourself when it happens to you.

Curious if there is a way to reduce adaptation? Funny you should ask – keep reading to discover two simple practices that can reduce adaptation and get you enjoying your life more.