Everyone needs a budget. I don’t care how much or how little money you earn, you still need to know how much you have coming in, and how much you have going out. Hopefully you end up on the positive side so you’re not always dipping into savings just to pay the bills. If that’s the case, then you should really assess your budget and see what you can change so that you can make more money than you spend.
If you find that you’re spending more than you earn, I recommend that you take a month and write down everything you spend money on. You might not realize that you’re spending $300 a month on going out to lunch for example, or that a coffee in the morning and afternoon really adds up by the end of the week. By doing this exercise you can really open your eyes to where all of your money is going and then begin to reign it in.
I have always followed the philosophy of pay yourself first. It’s always important to set money aside for yourself first because if you wait until everything else is paid for and money is spent on everything you think you need to spend it on, there will inevitably be nothing left for you and your future.
Whether you use a budgeting tool like mint.com or make your own spreadsheet in Google Docs, just make sure you account for all of your spending so you don’t get caught in a tough spot with no money.
This budgeting section will cover everything from creating a spending journal, to creative ways to cut back on spending, and looking at other options to save on the expenses you already have (own a house and you’re paying a high interest rate? Why haven’t you refinanced? Have a credit card balance on multiple cards and want to know the best way to pay it down? I plan to cover it all right here on this blog.)