The moment of truth has come…you check your bank account and realize you only have $6.47 to last you until next week when you get paid…
HOW DID MY ACCOUNT BALANCE GET THAT LOW???
Trust me girl I have been there – that’s when I realized I needed a budget when every paycheck was gone A WEEK before my next check leaving me with no gas money, no groceries and no extra funds for emergencies.
That is no way to live home girl I tell you, it causes stress and you have to go without. The best way to fix this is to create a budget. Once I created a budget my finances changed and I finally realized that without a budget you just spend until your money is gone….Which ends with you and $6.47 in your account 8 DAYS before you get paid.
So if you want to stop this annoying and stressful cycle definitely keep reading as I tell you how you can create a budget and finally stop living paycheck to paycheck .
1| Determine Your Expenses
When I say expenses I mean expenses that are NECESSITIES …..We have to break it down to the bare minimum. So only things like rent, insurance, car payment, utilities, groceries … you know important stuff ha-ha. These are what I call fixed expenses because they are things that you MUST PAY . Anything else can honestly be cut from your budget if necessary.
For Example my Fixed Expenses will look something like this :
- Rent $470
- Car note : I just paid my car off WOOT WOOT ! But this is a fixed expense.
- Car Insurance: $100
- Health Insurance : Is auto deducted from my check so I don’t include that in my budget but if you pay your insurance just list it as an expense.
- Utilities : $40
- Gas: $60
- Groceries: $100
- Phone: $60
Total Fixed Expenses : $830.00
Once you have totaled out your bills that are necessities then you can total out bills that are more for leisure. These bills are not necessities but they are things you pay for like eating out ,subscriptions and entertainment.
My leisure expenses are listed below :
- Hulu $12
- Apple Music $6
- Internet: $40
- Entertainment: $100
Total Monthly Expenses (Fixed and Leisure) : $988.00
Once you have calculated your fixed expenses and your leisure expenses then you will have a good Idea of how much you need to pay your bills and maintain you lifestyle.
2| Identify Your Income
Once you figure out how much you need to pay each month to maintain your lifestyle then you can determine your income and see if your expenses fit in with that. To find your income it really depends on your pay periods.
I recommend going through your bank statements to see how much you make and then total that up.
For me I get paid twice a month (biweekly) and my checks fluctuate because I get paid hourly and sometimes I work overtime. So I actually calculate my budget multiple times a month just to be accurate.
If you have the ability to see your paycheck before you receive it definitely check it out and see how much you will earn on your next pay period so you can have everything planned out ahead of time.
Calculating your income is as simple as totaling up all the income you will be receiving . Add child support, job income, side hustle income ALLL of it add it up and see how much you make every month so you can move on to the next step in creating a budget .
If you calculate your income and determine you don’t make enough money to support your lifestyle then I recommend adjusting your lifestyle .
Maybe you can …..
- Eat out less
- Stop buying unnecessary items like makeup or video games .
- Cancel some subscriptions you don’t need or can live without .
- Try couponing to save more money on the things you do buy . ( I just started doing this , sooo much savings)
If you have already cut your budget you can also consider looking around for another position that can compensate you more or see if you’re eligible for a promotion to earn a higher income.
If none of these options are possible and trust me I’ve been there consider a few side hustles to make you some extra money on the side. For a period in my life I was at a job that worked with my school schedule so I couldn’t quit but they couldn’t offer me a raise so I started doing tasks online to make some extra money. Here’s a post on How to Make Extra Money Online that has 7 tools I used during hard times to generate almost $2000 worth of extra income a month.
3| Evaluate your Income and Expenses
The last and final step to creating a budget is to look at your expenses and your income and see how much is left over. You can do this by subtracting your expenses from your income …if there is little to no money left over you may want to look through your budget to see if there is any ways to lower your expenses so you have money left over after you pay all of your bills .
Do you have Hulu AND Netflix? Maybe you should pick one and drop the other expense. Do you have subscriptions that you don’t use anymore or don’t need? Drop those expenses.
When I went through my budget I found that once I calculated my income and expenses I had like $20 left over. When I went through my bank statement I had spent over $400 on fast food and eating out (not including groceries).
GIRL that’s where all my money was going.. That’s not even including all the makeup and BS I bought just because there was money in my account.
So really go through your bank statements to see what you are spending your money on. I recommend using the application Mint to really help you see everything.
What Mint does is it separates all your bank transactions into categories and allows you to elect how much you want to spend for each category like fast food, entertainment , bills etc. . . Once you tell mint how much you want to spend it will alert you every time you are approaching your budget limit.
Check out Mint here !
So say you said you only want to spend $100 this month on fast food and eating out – well once your account hits $85 on fast food it will send you an alert telling you that you are approaching your budget.
It really helps keep me on track and see what I am spending my money on. Mint helps you identify the problems in your current budget so you can make adjustments in the future.
I would set your budget up so you can have money left over AFTER paying all your bills. You want extra money for entertainment, unexpected expenses and just anything else that isn’t a bill.
I also recommend trying to start saving at least $25 every month so that you can start working on an emergency fund. That will really expand your budget I promise having a savings is the best thing that has ever happened to me and my budget.
I no longer stress when a tire goes flat or when I have unexpected expenses because I have a savings account that is for those unexpected expenses.
So get your budget right. Eliminate expenses that are unnecessary and pay attention to what you’re spending your money on. I wish we can afford everything we want but unfortunately budgeting is necessary so we can get to that place where we can afford the things we need and WANT.
Having a budget is so important especially as you’re adulating and trying to become more financially responsible. Starting a budget ensures that you will be able to pay the most important bills and allows you to evaluate if you’re spending way too much money.
Once I started using a budget my finances changed. I was no longer late on bills, I was able to save and get my savings to $2500 + and counting (which for some is nothing but for me Im PROUD), and I was able to have money left over for the things I want to do.
So definitely get started with a budget today so you can start the long path to financial freedom and security .
Did you enjoy this post? DO you have other budgeting tips that help you stay financially secure? PLEASE share in the comments below .