Guide: Easy steps to making a budget

Budgeting tells your money where to go, instead of you wondering where it went.

News 12 Staff

Apr 7, 2023, 8:35 AM

Updated 374 days ago

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As high inflation continues and interest rates go up, many people are seeing their savings drop and credit card balances go up.
As those debts become more expensive -- there are some signs households may be reaching a tipping point under increased financial pressures. 
News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen was joined by debt elimination expert Jade Warshaw for a conversation on debt.
Breaking down your planning can keep you in control, so you can reach your financial goals.
WHY MAKING A BUDGET IS SO IMPORTANT? Budgeting tells your money where to go, instead of you wondering where it went. Budgeting is how you make any money goals happen.
Decide how you want to keep tabs on your money: on paper, on a spreadsheet or in an app.
Below are five easy steps to create a budget:

1: LIST YOUR INCOME

Normal paychecks and side hustles, freelance work, etc. Create separate lines for every paycheck you (and your partner) get -- plus that extra income coming in.

2: LIST YOUR EXPENSES

What money is going out? The four most important: Food, utilities, shelter and transportation. Other important expenses: insurance, debt, child care, etc.

3: SUBTRACT EXPENSES FROM INCOME

Subtract all your expenses from your income. This number should equal zero. A zero-based budget doesn't mean you let your bank account reach zero. Zero-based budgeting just means you give every dollar a job to do. What if you end up with a negative number?

4: TRACK YOUR EXPENSES ALL MONTH LONG

Track every single transaction -- account for everything that happens with your money all month long. Track your transactions regularly. Stay accountable.

5: MAKE A NEW BUDGET BEFORE THE MONTH BEGINS

Your budget shouldn't change too much from month to month. Copy over this month's budget to the next and then make changes for anything new that's coming. Be sure to include anything new such as birthdays, anniversaries gifts, back-to-school supplies, auto insurance and doctor's appointments.


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