Monthly Budgeting Paycheck to Paycheck
If Money is Tight
this hub could really help you. I know all about stretching your pennies and I've done a good job budgeting each month and planning so that we have enough to make it until the next paycheck, get all our bills paid, and if we're lucky, put a little bit into our savings account.
Planning in this way can really set you free. Free from stressing out about your financial situation. Get control of your finances (no matter what state they're in) and you'll feel so much better!
Here is how you can plan month to month based on your income.
What You'll Need
* A Planner
I get mine from Target each year for between $8 and $10. I get the same (or similar) one every year. It's simple and includes both monthly calendars and week-by-week pages. I use it to keep track of everything - including all budget items.
* List of Bills, Income
* Computer [optional but very helpful]
* Small Jar
Advice from My Dad
"Pay yourself first."
I take this as - make sure you get the money you can into your savings account before you pay your bills, buy your groceries, etc. However, sometimes, when the bills are due NOW, this is difficult to do. Just make the effort if you can.
Have 3 accounts: Checking, Long Term Savings, and Emergency Savings.
I put 60% of my "Savings Money" into the Long Term Savings account (downpayment on a house. *someday*) 40% into the Emergency Savings account (car problems, medical emergencies, etc). These accounts are SO important!
Don't get into Credit Card Debt.
I'm not going to tell you never to use a credit card because you need one to establish credit. You'll need good credit if you ever want a loan - for a house, a car, college, etc.
However, if you already have good credit, avoid charging at all costs. I always say ours are for emergencies but somehow we end up using them for other, less-emergency-related things. So instead, use emergency cash or set up an emergency debit card. That way you're not borrowing money. I'm going to put $50 in my husband's debit card and $50 in mine. (We have all joint accounts except two extra checking accounts which I set up for my business.)
How to Budget
Add up your monthly income. Add up your bills. Add what you need each week for groceries and gas (and if you live in an apartment, laundry).
On the month calendar in your planner, make a list of all your bills and the total.
On the week-to-week pages, write in each bill and the amount when they're due.
Here's where it gets a bit complicated...
Write out the dates you get paid including the amount you expect to receive. Then carefully plot out where that money will need to be allocated for that week. Add the money you'll need for gas and groceries. If you have any left, add how much you can put into savings.
Do this for every week of the month. Cross check with your list on the calendar so you make sure not to forget any of them.
Pay your bills ON TIME (this is where writing everything down comes in handy). Paying electronically makes this very easy. You could even set up automatic payments so you never forget. I prefer to do it myself so I have control and can make sure I have enough money in the account.
I find that something pops up each month that we'll need extra money for - license renewal, gifts, etc so try to be prepared for things like that as well.
Mad Money Jar
My favorite way to use money is on going to the movies and other dates with my husband. In order to afford that, we keep our change and put any extra cash into our Mad Money Jar. Some people suggest putting money in this first, but we have too many bills and not enough income so for now, it gets any extra. We also put any gift cards we get in there (it helps us not lose them (-: )