Everybody should have a budget. Yeah, I said it. It's really not that hard to do, and it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be! You can use a spreadsheet with formulas or you can write it on a piece of paper in a notebook. Here is an easy way to get started:
- Write down your take home pay for the month.
- Then write down all of your monthly expenses (rent/mortgage, heat/gas, water, phone, cable, internet, cell phones, gas, car payment, gym membership, daycare, etc, etc , etc)
- Substract that amount from your monthly income. (If this puts you in the negative, sign up for Financial Peace University right now! Go do it!)
- What you are left with you then divide up between groceries, household supplies, pet care, various savings, emergency fund, etc, etc.
- Every dollar should be budgeted for, but don't be afraid to give yourself a little bit of wiggle room, you know, in case you live in Alabama in the summer and your electric bill DOUBLES!
Once you have your general household budget in place, it is important to think ahead and "budget" for upcoming expenses (special events, travel, car maintenance, Christmas, day care, etc, etc, etc).