Beginning a Budget: Baby Steps

Are you feeling overwhelmed with your finances? Out-of-control? Wondering why you never have as much money as you think you should? We know a basic B who can help you. Meet your Budget. A way to track the money you have and make decisions about how you'd like to spend.

If that word has you panicking again, take a breath. You can make a budget in four simple baby steps. And just like learning to walk, it's okay if you take some tumbles. We will have you up and  running in no time. Here are the questions to answer:

1. How much money do I make? If you get a steady paycheck, this part's easy. If your income changes each month, start by looking at the last three months to estimate the bare minimum you're likely to make.

2. How much money do I have to spend each month? Things like your rent, water bill, and loan payments are examples of bills that remain relatively consistent. Groceries and gas are necessities that can vary month to month. Take a look at your recent spending to gauge what you need to set aside.

3. How much money is left over after necessities? Sometimes the answer is not much, or even none. If this is you, we feel you. Here are some resources that can help you prioritize what to spend on. If you do have money left over, you get to plan what to do with it.

4. What will I spend the rest on? We recommend saving as much as you can, then thinking about what you're planning for the next month. Hosting a fourth of July bash? Going to a friend's wedding? Drinking lots of iced coffee? Set aside enough money for your plans, don't spend it on other things, and you'll be golden.

Easier said than done? We know. Here are some tools* that can help you save and budget:
If you're just getting into budgeting, check out nerd wallet's great tool for mapping where your money goes. For more robust support, You Need a Budget lets you plan your budget and track it against your accounts. It does cost money, but they offer a 34-day free trial so you can see if it works for you.

We're rooting for you! Let us know how it goes.

*This section is not sponsored by any third parties. These are our pure, honest opinions of what we think is easy and works best!*