Having a monthly budget – and, more importantly, sticking to it – is a big part of personal financial management. When you allocate your income when you receive them, you are more likely to save money and less likely to waste it on unnecessary expenses.
Creating and maintaining a monthly budget for personal use is also easier than you think. There are apps that can help you keep track of your expenses and provide the necessary information for making a monthly budget. Some apps will even create the budget for you using artificial intelligence and deep insight of your spending habit.
Still, there are still misconceptions about having and maintaining a monthly budget. Some see it as a daunting thing to do, while others have questions about how to best manage their budget. To help you get started with your own budget, we are going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about creating a monthly budget.
How do I start?
“I don’t know where to start.” Does this sound familiar? That is because many people who are just getting started with personal financial management genuinely don’t know how to get started; you may be in the same condition too. When you have a lot of expenses to pay, debts to manage, and income that are not managed properly, getting started with creating a monthly budget can be challenging.
The easiest way to get around this obstacle is by looking at your expenses first. Spend some time writing down all of your expenses to the last penny, and then categorize them accordingly. If you still cannot list your expenses in great details, spend the month writing down every expense you make as soon as you make it as a way to get started.
With expenses written down and categorized properly, you can begin reviewing how to best allocate your income. More importantly, you can start seeing your own personal financial state, as in you know how much you spend on debt repayments and how much you can actually save every month. Now is also a great time to cut unneeded expenses and save money.
How does a monthly budget look like?
The answer to that question is, well, however you want. While there are many theories on how to create the ideal monthly budget for personal use, there is no strict rules you have to follow when creating yours. You can set your own expense categories and organize your budget the way you like.
In fact, this is the best approach to take. At the very least, it is easier to stick to the budget when you are comfortable with it from the beginning. You also have more freedom and flexibility as you craft the ideal budget for yourself.
That said, there are some goals you want to achieve in order to have a healthier cash flow, starting with saving a portion of your income for future investments. You want to set aside at least 10% – ideally 20% – of your income as soon as you receive your pay check and save it.
On the other hand, you can also allocate more money towards repaying your debts, especially when you are in a pinch with your loans. The more debts you repay, the more money you free up, and the more you can allocate towards other needs, including saving and investing.
I have a budget. How do I stick to it?
Sticking to the plan is the hard part. Creating a budget is only the beginning. The next part of the equation is monitoring your expenses in order to stay in budget. This is best done with an app or a money management software, since you can keep track of your expenses in real time.
You also have visuals to help you monitor your progress as you go along; they make staying true to your monthly budget easier. You always know when you overspend, and you can make corrections to your spending habit immediately to avoid future problems.
What if there are unexpected expenses (or emergencies) to deal with?
We’ve all been there; we try so hard to stay within the budget, only to run into an unexpected expense or a financial emergency that throws everything off balance. Yes, emergencies and unexpected expenses are difficult to deal with, but how you deal with them matters.
You have plenty of financing options and loans to help you fill gaps in your monthly budget. What you need to do is find a solution that works for you, particularly a loan that you can repay without hurting the budget for next month.
You also need to make some sacrifices. After all, the extra expenses still need to be covered. Save more on non-essential expenses and consider finding new sources of income to help balance your budget.
Having and maintaining a monthly budget is how you maintain control over your personal finance. It is not always easy to get started, but the tips and tricks we covered in this article will help you create your own monthly budget – and stick to it – in no time.Continue Reading