In these economically challenging times, we all need to keep on top our finances is an in order to do this effectively we should all be creating an effective financial budget.
Most people carry on day by day going to work, paying the bills, doing the shopping and hoping that at the end of the month they will have enough money left over before the next pay cheque is due. Going about life in this way means that we just can’t plan ahead effectively nor can we safely provide ourselves with those little extra treats not knowing if we’ll have enough money left over to pay the bills.
By following a simple plan and investing a little time in the process, we can soon become more fully aware of our financial situation and in doing so, take back more control of our lives and reduce the fear of lack and need.
The financial budget, put very simply, is a list of our expenses, i.e. the money that is going out, and the money that is coming in. Because we have very little control over the financial demands that are faced by all individuals and households just to keep going, by taking back greater control of our spending then we can more accurately determine what or precise financial situation is so that we can respond to additional financial needs as and when they arise.
Below is a link to an excellent free guide that will explain the process of personal budgets in more depth;
The Only Budgeting Book You’ll Ever Need: How to Save Money and Manage Your …
Tere Stouffer, published 2012, 240 pages
It is very simple to write down each day how much money we have spent. We can also write down all of our ongoing monthly expenditures and with this information we can see very quickly where all our money is going and in doing so, identify any areas where where wasting money or where we could be spending the money more effectively.
Anyone that has a computer immediately has access to free software to produce a very simple spreadsheet. The Open Office software is probably the most popular and with this we can then accurately itemise all of our outgoings and income. Of course, we can still do this on a piece of paper, but the use of a spreadsheet allows us to see the immediate result on our total financial situation when small changes are made.
Since the introduction of the smart phone, there are now a good range of apps that can be used to assist with organizing personal budgets;
Top 10 Personal Budget Apps For Everyone
The best way to structure our financial analysis is to break down our expenses into key categories. Most people would identify the categories of; household services, food & drink, car costs, children and family entertainment. Again, this will vary for each individual but these are certainly expenses that the vast majority of families can relate to.
This document provides useful formatted budgeting sheets that anyone can use for creating their personal budget assessment –
When looking at past expenditure figures, it is very useful to start with bank and credit card statements where you can clearly identify all the major expenditures and any one-off payments you have made over the past few months. Items such as; birthday gifts, auto expenses and Christmas all need to be taken into account when identifying the yearly expenditure.
This video covers many of the categories that you need to consider when creating your personal budget;
Some payments, we only make on a quarterly or six monthly basis and so it is important to go through a whole years past expenditure to clearly identify where we have spent money.
Once we have completed this very simple exercise, we will have a very clear understanding of what our expenditure have been for the whole year. Now we can compare this against our annual income figure and often be quite surprised in the process! If you discover that your expenditure far outweighs your income, you are now in an excellent position to clearly recognise why you have spent more than you have brought in. Are you living within your means? Have you spent too much on extras? Are you spending money in effectively? All of these questions can be answered with the data that is now presented before you and you’re in great position of power to rectify the situation.
The outcome of this exercise may be that you have to cut back on your expenditure or it could be that you need to earn a little bit extra money. It could equally be that you need to invest your money more wisely or you may need to reduce your debt or credit payments more effectively so that you’re not wasting money in the process. The most important outcome is that you now know exactly what your financial situation is and you can see quite clearly what you have to do in order to balance the books.
So gain greater financial freedom today and start producing a financial budget. You will feel empowered and relieved that you now know exactly what it is that you need to do in order to maintain a healthy and balanced financial situation and as a consequence of this, enjoy life more fully.