Determine Your Income:
- Use the budget worksheet below.
- List all sources of income, including any wages, freelance work, support income, or any other sources.
- Make sure to use your net income (after deductions like insurance, taxes, and other withholdings). This makes understanding what you have to spend clearer.
Identify Fixed Expenses:
- List your fixed monthly expenses that remain consistent each month. This includes rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, and loan payments.
- Consider adding your monthly utilities here. We find it makes budgeting the variable expenses easier.
- Remember that fixed expenses are essential and non-negotiable expenses that you must pay regularly.
List Variable Expenses:
- Identify and categorize your variable expenses. These are expenses that may fluctuate from month to month or are once-in-a-while costs. Examples include groceries, eating out, streaming services, transportation, etc.
- Estimate the average amount you spend in each category based on your bank records and credit card statements. Look at one to three months’ history or track your expenses for the next few months.
Set Savings Goals:
- Determine your short-term and long-term savings goals. This could include building an emergency fund, saving for a vacation, or contributing to retirement accounts.
- Allocate a specific portion of your income towards savings to ensure you are consistently building your financial reserves.
Create and Track Your Budget:
- Using a budgeting tool, like the one we share here, helps to organize and track your income and expenses.
- Compare your actual spending against your budget regularly to identify any areas where you may be overspending.
- Adjust your budget as needed and find ways to cut costs if you exceed your limits in certain categories.
Remember to be realistic with your budget and make adjustments as needed. Regularly reviewing and updating your budget will help you stay on track and achieve your financial goals. If you live with family or have a caregiver, consider including them in the budgeting process to ensure everyone is on the same page and committed to the financial plan.
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