Have you been living your life in financial blinders? Wondering, “where does the money go,” without bothering to actually look?
No more! Part of adulting is being financially responsible. This is probably the biggest part of adulting. Probably, aside from making uncomfortable phone calls in which you have no idea what the hell you are actually talking about. (Looking at you, insurance companies!)
We millennials catch a lot of crap for our poor money management skills. While part of this is not having enough money to manage in the first place, lol, we can’t place all of the blame on this one piece of the puzzle. Financial responsibility and literacy are important skills to develop. We can’t borrow money from or live with our parents forever, right?
I recently had to come up with a budget, myself. Here is the process that I used. I hope that it is helpful to you.
You will need:
- Pen/Pencil and notebooks, and/or
- Financial statements and bills from the past few months
- A comfortable, quiet workspace
- Tea or coffee optional
- Tissues optional but recommended
What to do:
- Gather all of your financial statements and bills and get comfy. Read over everything thoroughly, noting repeat purchase types and price points.
- Separate everything into a few categories – short-term debt (credit cards), long-term debt (car loan and mortgage), recurring expenses, variable expenses, and unnecessary expenses.
- I took a break at this point to cry a little bit. This step is totally optional.
- Figure out your total monthly income. Include salary/hourly pay, side gigs, and recurring monetary gifts (thanks, moms!). Compare your total income against your total expenses.
- You’ll probably want to cry a little more at this point. Don’t worry, it’s completely normal and healthy.
- Cut any unnecessary expenses ASAP. I was able to do this immediately by cutting some Amazon services that I didn’t even realize I was subscribed to. Free trials are tricky and cannot be trusted, you guys.
- If you aren’t making enough to cover your newly reduced expenses, brainstorm ways that you can make more income and further adjust expenses. See my infographic below for ideas.
- Plug all of your expenses and income into a spreadsheet to keep track of if you are so inclined. You may want to try a cash system. Personally, I find that just having a general idea and keeping track of my bank and credit card statements are usually enough to keep me in line. If I am having an especially hard time managing my funds I like to put myself on a cash-only allowance for when I am out and about. It’s a trial-and-error process.
As promised, here is a fun infographic about making extra $$$ and cutting expenses:
I hope that you found this tutorial helpful and fun! What are your favorite budgeting tips and tricks?