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Mastering Your Finances: How to Budget Like a Pro

To control your household’s income and spending, you need to keep a budget. At the end of every month a budget must be prepared for the following month before the month begins. A written plan will help you psychologically to achieve your goals. A budget will also lower your stress due to financial strains since you will feel in control of your income and expenses. You need to start your budget now using our tools below because there is a saying “what gets measures gets accomplished”.

All members of the family must agree on the budget created. Your budget should agree with your long-term financial plan. Once you setup your budget plan, you should follow up closely. In this way, you will keep a close watch on your expenses and avoid impulse purchases.

Budgeting top priority

Your first priority is to cover your living costs which are:

  1. Food
  2. Home
  3. Clothing
  4. Transportation

Introduction to budgeting

The basic idea of a budget is to record at the end of every month all your income and all your expenses of your household for the following month. A budget is your plan specifying beforehand where money should go for the following month instead of where it went.

You should be very diligent in recording all income and expenses, and then sticking to the budget agreed on a daily basis.

For your budget to be functional you should consider the following:

  1. KISS: Keep it simple stupid – don’t overcomplicate your budget
  2. Follow it and update it closely on a daily, weekly, monthly basis
  3. Include all your expenses

zero based budget

A zero-based budget is to start with your household’s income at the top and then write all expenses for the month under it. Your income minus all total expenses should equal zero. If it doesn’t equal zero go back and readjust the expenses.

Your expenses should be structured based on your initial plan to get out of the financial crisis mode:

  1. Initially build a savings account with $1,000
  2. Once step 1 is complete, all the extra money left should be used for repaying debt
  3. Once debt is repaid, your savings account should be replenished with six to twelve months of expenses
  4. Once your saving account is replenished, extra funds will go towards investing

Money bucketing

To manage your expenses correctly, split them in different expenses types and for each type (food, clothing etc) before the month begins setup up a direct debit or use a physical storage to apportion your funds accordingly.

Balancing your check book

At least once a month you should balance your checkbook. Balancing your checkbook means that you should record all additions (deposits) made to your account and subtractions (withdrawals). The purpose for balancing a checkbook is to know how much actual money you have in your checking account at any given time. Moreover, it prevents you from been charged overdrafts from your bank on your account. Overdrafts are the most expensive loans charged by banks having interest ranging between 19% and 40%.

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