Here are some common tips for creating a budget.
While planning every cent is possible, it may not always be realistic. A budget is meant to be a guide; it’s your guide, and is based on your information. To be successful, you need to know both your gross and net income as well as all of your expenses. Take a look through all of your past bills to figure out how much you are spending each month. Perhaps take an average to help accommodate for a low or high month and be sure to keep an eye out for expenses that only occur quarterly or yearly.
Setting up basic spending categories and limits of what you can spend each month will help with those experiencing highs and lows of spending. Be sure that you are setting aside savings each time you get paid, even if you have it sent to a different account than the rest of your check. Paying yourself first sounds old fashioned but it works. At PCT, members have the ability to set up several savings accounts (under their same account number) to help separate funds for things they are saving for such as: property taxes, Christmas, vacations, or an emergency fund.
A few expenses to remember to track that are commonly overlooked include: gifts, pet food or vet visits, variable interest rates or other fees, personal care items, and auto maintenance. Also, things can break – such as your phone, television, or refrigerator so keeping a list of things that may need to be replaced will help if and when an emergency happens.
Lastly, there are several online resources or apps that you can download to help you on creating and managing your budget. Read the reviews and pick the option that will work best for you, you may find you want to try a few to find the best fit for you.