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Create a Personal Budget in Less Than 4 Steps
Creating a personal budget is probably the single most important thing you can do to move yourself towards financial security. If you break down the steps to creating a personal budget, it's not complicated.
The big thing that stops most people from creating and maintaining a personal budget is fear - fear of facing the ugly beast of too much debt, too many bills, not enough money. If you have this fear, you need to take care of it first or else your budget efforts won't go anywhere. The best way to conquer any fear is to meet it head on, to the best of your ability…one little step at a time. Commit to yourself just to do the first of the steps below, and then only proceed to the next step if you're comfortable with it. You might surprise yourself!
1. Get a piece a paper and a pen (or an empty notepad or spreadsheet on your PC if you prefer) and off the top of your head jot down what you pay out every month and to whom. For example:
Car payment 360
Credit card 200
(you get the idea...)
This list doesn't have to be perfect! This is just the first step!
2. Pull up your online bank statement (or grab a recent paper one.) Add your income to the list with a big plus next to it. If you have more than one source of recurring income, list it separately, with a note regarding frequency (bi-weekly, weekly, monthly, etc.) Also, check your statement against your list to see if you forgot anything. Refine the guestimates you came up with in step 1. 95% gets it done for now - your list doesn't have to be perfect, just close!
3. Get a calculator (or use your spreadsheet functions if you've gone that route) and add up the money you're paying out each month. Then add up how much you're earning each month. If you get paid twice a month, it's pretty easy to figure your monthly income. If you get paid bi-weekly, multiply your bi-weekly paycheck amount by 26 then divide by 12. Is the money you're paying out less than the money you're bringing in? If yes, awesome! Congratulations! If you're spending more than you earn, recheck your numbers and then don't fret if that's correct - this is very common. Think about where you can reduce spending to get you back in the black.
4. Guess what? There is no step four. You've already created a personal budget! It really is that simple. Just repeat steps 1-3 whenever you feel the need and you'll continue to refine it to match you and your family's needs. If there's too much going out for restaurants and such either tighten your belt a bit or go out and get more income. Just the simple act of making a list of what you spend and consciously starting to make choices about where your money goes is all it takes to create a good first personal budget.
About the Author: Brad Homer offers Millionaire 2020™ can help you create a personal budget as outlined above and tell you exciting things that are possible in your financial future!