Saving money is hard. It requires discipline, patience, and a ton of self-control. But, if you make it a priority, it becomes easier over time. If you’re ready to take your budgeting skills to the next level and start saving money, you need a handle on how much you’re spending on various categories.
That’s where a budget comes in. It’s a system for tracking your spending and staying within budget so you don’t spend more than you’re earning. But, it doesn’t come naturally to most people. If you’re ready to finally get your financial house in order, follow these 3 simple steps to start tracking your expenses and never fail at budgeting again.
What is budgeting?
Budgeting is a process that helps you forecast your income and keep track of how much you’re spending each month. It’s a way of staying within your means so you’re not at the mercy of an uncontrollable source of income (like a random paycheck).
That way, you can plan for any unexpected expenses, like a car repair, a trip, or a kids’ doctor visit. While budgeting has its roots in frugality, budgeting can also be used for luxury items, like a vacation.
In fact, it’s recommended for any area of your budget, including groceries, transportation, housing, and entertainment.
Step 1: Set Up Your Account
Before you can start tracking your expenses, you need to create an account where you keep track of everything. You can do this manually or use a budgeting software. If you decide to go with a software, you’re in luck!
There are so many to choose from, you’ll likely never run out of options. There are budgeting apps for just about every device, including Android, iOS, and even computer software.
You can use your preferred device or take advantage of the software’s full feature set, wherever you are. Once you have an account setup, you can link your bank account or credit card to the software to track your spending.
Step 2: Track Your Spending
Now that you have an account setup and have linked your account to the software, it’s time to start tracking your spending.
You can use a pen and paper, Excel file, or the software’s interface to keep track of your expenses, which can be useful if you’re just getting started with budgeting.
The key to budgeting is to track as much as you can: your spending, how much you earn, and how much you have left at the end of the month to spend.
Step 3: Use a Budgeting Software
Now that you’ve tracked your spending and the software has your data, it’s time to use the software to help you stay within budget.
You can use a budgeting software in a few different ways:
Review your spending – These programs allow you to review your spending and make note of areas that you might want to cut back on.
Create an allowance – Allowances are simply chunks of money that you can spend on anything (gifts, parking, etc). This allows you to be flexible with your budgeting and avoid setting strict rules that you may or may not be able to follow.
Create a monthly budget – The last step is to create a monthly budget and see where you are spending your money.
Which Budgeting Software Should You Use?
There are a lot of budgeting software options out there, and it can be overwhelming when you first start looking.
You may even try a few different software programs before you settle on one that works best for you. The good news is that the budgeting process isn’t complicated, and there are plenty of budgeting software options to choose from.
Below, you’ll find three budgeting software options that are great for people who want to spend less money and save more money.
The key to budgeting is to track as much as you can: your spending, how much you earn, and how much you have left at the end of the month to spend on whatever you want.
By doing this, you can stay within your means and have peace of mind that you’re not going to get into financial trouble because of something you didn’t plan for. With a little effort, you’ll find that budgeting is an easy process that will help you save money and get out of debt.