The new year has come. Celebrations are behind us and it’s time to look toward the rest of the year. If you are planning to budget this year, you’re in luck. We have all of the information you’ll need to plan your 2017 budget. Check it out.
Look into Your Past Spending
One of the first things you should do when planning a new budget is to look at your past spending habits. See what you ended up spending more money on and what you spent less on. If you spend $30 at a coffee shop each week, it might be a good idea to structure other areas of your budget around that or make a conscious effort to brew your own coffee.
Make Income Projections
If you know how much you will be making during the new year, put that into place in your budget. Just remember to allot for the amount you are actually making, not what you hope to make, even if you are in line for a big promotion. You can adjust your budget later for any extra income.
Also, be sure to include any additional income sources like alimony, child support, disability benefits or tips. These are part of your income and should be accounted for.
Make Spending Projections
This is where your last year’s spending reports will come in handy. Take all of your expenses and apply them to your budget. Everything from groceries to rent to debt repayment to savings should be put into your budget. Try to be as balanced as possible and leave room in the budget for savings. We recommend breaking your expenses down into a list with subcategories. For instance, if you have a category for food, you can break that down into subcategories like coffee, groceries, restaurants, fast food and alcohol/bars. Try to be as detailed and accurate as possible.
If you create your budget and you have money left over, good job! You have a surplus and can make a decision about what to do with it. If you don’t have any money left over in your budget or you end up in the red (meaning you have spent more than you earned), it’s time to balance your budget.
Seeing as most people can’t increase their earning as needed, you will need to decrease your spending. Try trimming some of the wants out of your budget. These wants could include trips to the coffee shop, clothing expenses, dining out for lunch, hair appointments, certain subscriptions like Netflix or satellite radio or even transportation adjustments (carpooling or public transportation).
Monitor Your Spending
So you have a budget. Now is the time to monitor your spending and keep track of your money to ensure you are staying within your budget. There are many apps, like Mint, that can help you stay on top of your finances.
If you feel too overwhelmed by this process, don’t be afraid. There are professionals available to help you figure out all of these issues, like those at CreditGUARD. The certified credit counselors at CreditGUARD, a trusted nonprofit debt consolidation company, are always available to help you make the right decisions with your money. Give them a call today to take the first steps toward your financially stable future.