This is a very simple, and basic guide to starting a budget. It seems like everyone these days is starting to budget their spending.

Step 1

Take the last 1 to 3 months of spending and categorize by something like this;

  • gas
  • groceries
  • medical
  • mortgage/rent
  • entertainment (I consider going out to eat as part of our entertainment but thats up to you)
  • restaurant/fast food
  • credit card
  • car payment
  • college loan or other debt
  • clothing
  • house maintenance
  • utilities

Once categorized average your monthly spending within the categories.

Step 2

The areas which you can lower your spending (groceries, gas, restaurant, entertainment), I would recommend setting a goal of lowering these areas by 10-20% for the first few months, see how you do and then continue to setting them lower. Cancel unused gym memberships or movie rental services unless being utilized. Check into bundling your tv/internet/phone.

Ideas to help you lower your spending (how to help you stick to a budget).

Ask yourself, “How can I lower how much you spend on gas?” If all you do is go to work then home, maybe you can’t lower it much. Around here I can get the lowest gas price on Tuesdays or Thursdays (Holidays and weekends are always the highest). Grocery shop after work instead of on the weekend if the store is close to work. Try sharing a ride to work with a coworker – one week you drive, the next they drive.

Groceries, make a meal plan and shop for what you need for those meals don’t just generally shop to fill the pantry. Pack leftovers for lunch. That helps me cook a dinner I love and want to eat not just for dinner but for lunch the following day too. I just saved myself from cooking a lunch or from buying lunch. When making your meal plan, look at whats on sale first, then what you have coupons for, see what you can come up with.

Entertainment, instead of going to the movies every weekend rent from the redbox. If going out to eat try a service like Groupon where you can buy giftcards for half price to certain restaurants. Do free things like a concert on the green, or a walk at the park. Decide to do a game night with friends or dinner night and rotate who hosts.

Have other ideas of how to save money please send them to me!