A proper budget can help you gain insight into your spending habits and help you allot money to contribute to your savings. However, everyone spends money differently, which is why no one budgeting method fits everyone’s lifestyle.
Instead it’s important to examine each option when creating your budget in order to pick the one best suited for you.
Here are four different ways to budget:
A monthly budget can be beneficial for many reasons. Many bills and expenses only pop up once a month, which is why a monthly budget is a good jumping off point.
Keep track of all your expenses, savings plans and any possible personal items and figure them into your monthly income.
A monthly budget also acts as a good guide for how to budget for your savings as well, since you’ll have taken out those monthly fixed expenses. Furthermore, once a month is a good time to review and re-examine your financial goals as well.
If you get paid twice a month, a bi-monthly budget can be extremely helpful since you won’t have all of your monthly income at once.
It’s a good idea to set aside half your rent or mortgage from one paycheck and then use the rest of it to pay for other fixed living expenses like utilities and insurance. Of course, it’s always wise to leave yourself a little buffer for other necessities.
Then, when you get a second paycheck, set aside the other half of your rent or mortgage, and take out any planned savings in your budget. Whatever you have left over you can budget into variable expense categories, like groceries, entertainment, and gas. With a bi-monthly budget you won’t accidentally spend more than your paycheck.
Although this technique won’t allow you to allot all your fixed expenses into your budget, it will allow you to track your spending habits more carefully.
By tracking and planning your spending weekly, you can see where you fall in your budget so you know exactly whether or not you’ve stayed inside your plan. From there you can more easily plan the following weeks and spend accordingly. If you spend a little extra on entertainment one week you may need to adjust the next few weeks and this budget method gives you that flexibility.
Zero based budgeting means that what goes in, is exactly what goes out. In other words, if your monthly income is $2,500 then $2,500 is what you spend, save or invest.
To do this list your total monthly income, then write down every single expense you have each month, not just the fixed payments.
At the end everything must even out, and if they don’t, you’ll have to make adjustments. However, with a zero based budget, this is also true if you come out ahead. Every dollar must be assigned to something, so if you have $200 left over you’ll have to do something with it, like save it. The point of this budget is that you know exactly where every last dollar of your income goes.
You have a variety of options when it comes to figuring out your budget. The important thing to remember is to pick the one that’s right for you and best suited to your spending habits. And in some cases, that might even mean keeping more than one type of budget at different points in your life.
What’s your go-to budgeting technique? Have you found one that works better than the rest?- Kayla