With the economic downturn, we have experienced over the last couple of years, “budget” has become a popular word again. Making a simple budget may take less time than you imagined, and it will help you save in the end. The steps below will help you get on the path of budgeting in no time:

  1. Start tracking. A good budget starts with the knowledge of how you already spend money. If you don’t already, start writing down your expenses and income each day. We recommend you repeat this process for 2 or 3 months to get a good feel for where your money goes before starting your budget.
  2. Total up your spending. At the end of each month simply tally up the expenses and put them in categories such as Utilities, Housing, Food, or Miscellaneous. Pick categories that work for you.
  3. Adjust your budget. Now that you can see where your money is going, adjust your budget to meet your goals.
  4. Keep with it! Continue to track your spending each month and compare it to your budget. If you consistently go over or under budget in a certain category it may be time to reevaluate that part of your budget.

If you stick with a budget you’ll be amazed at how, over time, you’ll be able to start changing your spending habits.

Here are ways to help start the budget process:
A budget worksheet: frugalliving.about.com/od/moneymanagement/a/Budget_Form.htm

A budget calculator: mappingyourfuture.org/money/budgetcalculator.cfm