How to Budget for Beginners : Step by Step

FOR BEGINNERS

Did you know that only 41% of Americans are likely to use a budget.  Many of which actually admit to not knowing how to even begin to budget their finances. It’s a simple task once you get the hang of it. But, it does take work.

Budgeting isn’t just for those who are sparse on cash, many wealthy people budget their finances as well! Budgeting not only helps you prepare for mishaps or everyday spending, but it also keeps you and your income on track.

If you’re looking for a simple way to get started with budgeting, we’re here to share with you our easiest method to get anyone on board. It only takes 4 simple steps! All you need is a pen and paper!

This is a monthly budgeting plan – but you can also replace with weekly or bi-weekly! (Picture below for visual purposes)

  1. Income – Make a list of every stream of income you have coming in for the entire month. This includes job wages, sales commissions, tips, – and any cash that you normally use towards your everyday expenses.

2. Bills – The very first step to not only having good credit, but also having a peace of mind, is paying bills first. This includes rent/mortgage, gas, electric, water, insurance, phone, internet, hospital, student loans, and credit card bills. After all, many of these are a necessity and/or help us with day to day tasks! List all bills you pay throughout the month, along with the amount.

3. Subtract – Now that you have all your bills listed, subtract them from your income. Bills are usually between 40%-70% of our income, the lower the better. Your total bills should never be more than your income, so you should typically have a good remainder.

86703285_213051123208352_4595671292266414080_o

 

4. Allot – This is where the actual budgeting comes in. On a daily basis we spend money on everyday expenses like gas for driving or dinner out with friends. These expenses are exactly what budgeting is for – so we don’t go overboard. Separate your expenses into categories and jot them down, then organize them by priority (not amount). Your basic category list may end up looking similar to this::

Savings:

Groceries:

Gas:

Fun:

Out to Eat:

Miscellaneous:

You may notice that we have savings listed first. You may have it last on your list, or even in the middle. I was always taught that savings are priority after bills because they go towards your future and your goals. Whether you’re only saving $5 or $500 for the month, you’ll always have a comfort in knowing you have money set aside.

Groceries are next, as of course, we all need to eat. Gas for driving back and forth to school/work. The fun budget is allotted for things like movie or concert tickets, basically any leisurely activity you may spend time doing throughout the month. We do have a budget for going out to eat on days that we are short on time for cooking, or for birthdays and special occasions.

Many people forget to include a miscellaneous category– which almost always is the missing link when it comes to sticking to budget. Any expense or item that doesn’t fall into the other categories will be considered part of the miscellaneous category. This may include trips to the nail or hair salon, shoes, clothes, wine/beer, oil changes, birthday/anniversary gifts, and even furniture.

Set a specific amount for each of the above categories and dispense money to each using the envelope or jar system. Consider diving the amount into 4, (for each week per month)  so you can have a set amount to set aside each week. This way you’ll have cash ready when you need it.

As you can see above, we ended up with an amount left over after bills and expenses. We call this the remainder. Many people like to use this amount as paying off debts, saving for vacations or children’s college, or put towards an investment. Whatever you decide, put your money to work!

Remember, the main idea of having a budget is so that we can train ourselves to live inside our means, and know our limits on what we can/should spend. Personally, budgeting has kept me on track and has enabled me to meet many financial goals. There are many different ways to budget out there, but I have found this to be the simplest – and most successful – for me!

More tips, info, or tricks? Did this work for you? Let us know what you think below!

Feeling Inspired? Check out these other posts!

10 FREE Activities You can do with Kids on any day

How to Keep Mornings from Being Chaotic – 10 Tips from and Organized Mom

10 Ways to Earn Income as a Stay at Home Parent

 

 

 

10 Activities FREE for Kids on Any Day

 

ProjectivityMom

 

We’ve all been there. Kids have a day off of school but on a tight budget? Between zoo trips, movie theatres, and arcades, expenses add up quick! I’ve had a lot of “boring” days just sitting around the house because we couldn’t imagine going out and fishing money out on these things. So, I’ve done some research and found there’s actually quite many FREE activities many do as a whole family, so we don’t have to break our wallet.

  • Library- Libraries aren’t just for books! You can also find movies, board games, magazines, local yearbooks and many other fun things at the Library. Many Libraries also offer free Story Time for little ones! For the older kids, they may have simple art activities or reading contests to participate in. Check with your local library to see what kind of Free Fun they offer!
  • Scavenger Hunt – These are all the trends on local deal sites nowadays. Why pay someone to supply you with a popularized scavenger hunt when you can make one with your own twist? Take it to the park, or even around town. Make a list of things you might see out of the ordinary like a squirrel digging in the ground, and things that are ordinary like pinecones, or people bike riding! Make it fun and like a contest. “Whoever wins, gets to choose what we do next”. Kids love these type of activities and it gets them out of the house and into the outdoors.
  • Go to the Park – And not just the park down the street that you’re familiar with! Be a tourist in your own town, explore new parks, city monuments, trails or statues. Not all parks are created equal. Some parks have more new and unique playground equipment than others, so the kids get excited to be playing on new things! Some parks even have read along, or exercising trails to keep kids occupied while you’re out for a stroll.
  • Free “Zoo” or Aquarium – Check the nearest cities near you, one of them (usually the largest) is likely to have a small free “zoo” or aquarium where they have animals like birds, turtles or fish on display. Some of these facilities may also offer free education areas where children can participate in hands-on activities and learn all about animals and the environment around them.
  • Splash Pad – What kid doesn’t love playing in the water?! “Splash pads” are basically water playgrounds! They consist of all kinds of sprinkler-like equipment designed for kids to have fun and stay cool during the summer. Bonus, YOU can also join in on the fun. No shame in our game here.. We’ve done it! 
  • Free days at the Zoo – Our local zoo offers “free days” every once in a while. Admission is usually no charge AND they offer discounted boat or train tours. When the zoo announces which day they are offering these free admission days, we check our calendars and write it in if we are free that day! It’s so worth it if you only end up going to the zoo once or twice a year anyway. Why not go on a free day?
  • Recreation Center – This is an option that is usually overlooked by most parents. Check with your local recreation center, they may offer free admission for kids! This is great because recreation centers are perfect places for kids to interact and get exercise. They can play basketball, walk around the track, and even play in the designated kids area which usually has some type of arcade games.
  • Bowling – Free Bowling all summer long? YES, Please. Kids get free admission to bowl any day of the summer when you sign up at kidsbowlfree.com. Our kids love the bowling alley because it provides a low-key environment where they can let off some steam. Plus, it’s indoors so you stay cool! The only downfall is you have to bring your own bowling shoes.
  • Movie Days – I’m not talking about the movie theatre here. Some parks, libraries, even local businesses sometimes offer free outdoor or even indoor movie days. Our local humane society does this at least once a month! It’s a great way for kids to get out and socialize and maybe see a movie they’ve never thought of watching.
  • Concert in the Park- Do you ever drive past a crowd of people downtown  and say “I wonder what’s going on there?” Check it out, it’s probably a free event! Car shows, festivals, and farmers markets are always free to walk around, get out and meet new people. You get to take in the fresh air and experience things you don’t typically see at home. Farmers markets are great for getting children’s brains going! My son got the idea to set up his own stand after seeing that kids can do it too at the farmer’s market!

Feeling Inspired? Check out these other posts!

Chicken Broccoli + Cauliflower Rice Casserole *Health

How to Keep Mornings from Being Chaotic – 10 Tips from and Organized Mom

How to Prepare yourself (and Kids) for Tomorrow -Stay at Home Mom Daily Routine