How to budget, like a pro!
Becoming an adult is hard work, but what is even harder is learning and figuring everything out by yourself. Some people don’t get a chance to really understand personal finance, until they’re drowning in mountains of debt and bills. But I’m here to give you a brief lesson on how to budget. Once you get it down, creating the budget is the easy part. What’s harder is changing your habits and actually sticking to the budget. I’m going to talk about how to actually put pen to paper and my suggestions on what you should budget for. Then I’m going to get into my tips to help you stay on track throughout the month.
Income – Life Expenses = Leftover!**** <– SIMPLE ASS FORMULA YOU NEED TO REMEMBER!
What is your income?
Income is any money you make! This can be money from a job, online sales, babysitting, tax refund, graduation gifts, allowances, or even selling your clothes or textbooks. Whatever greenery that comes into your hands or bank account is income. And you want to make sure all of your income gets budgeted and goes through this formula. Just because Aunt Jenny gave you $50 bucks doesn’t mean you should go spend it all right away. You want to preserve that money and use it intentionally!
What are life expenses?
Expenses are what you have to pay out to other people. When I say “life expense” it’s something that you have to pay out to other people in order to “survive.” There is a spectrum here it can be to live comfortably or living on bare necessities, that depends on your flow of cash and what your financial goals are. For me my “life expenses” are rent, my car loan, groceries, car insurance, phone bill, gas, and retirement. I like to pay these expenses first because these are my survival necessities, everything else for me is minor. After these are paid I use my leftover to fund my financial goals.
What is leftover?
Leftover IS NOT what you get to spend on all the bullshit you want. It’s actually what you get to use to build your wealth and accomplish your financial goals. These can be savings or expenses, depending on your financial goals. If your not sure where to start with your financial goals, think of things you want to accomplish in the next month/six months/year to become financially responsible.
Let’s say your goals are to:
- 1. pay off your federal student loan before you graduate
- 2. spend less on eating out
- 3. take your mom out for her birthday next month
Use these goals to tell your leftovers where to go. So you might want to save a little more on groceries, a larger chunk for you student loans, and a decent size for your mom. Your goals can be time sensitive, so remember that when budgeting because you don’t want to wait a week before your mom’s birthday to start saving up, that just may not be enough time for most of us. And that may temp you to just use your credit card, but don’t do it! For me my leftover money for September is going to fund my entertainment, Halloween, getting my hair done, internet bill, my laptop.
So that’s the simple way to start figuring what to and how to budget. I want to keep this post really simple and not overwhelming so I’m going to talk about habits for successful budgeting in next week’s post. But I want you all to read this and determine what your financial goals for the month October are. That way you’ll be ready to budget with me on September 30th!
Until then, XOXOXO J