Budget before the month begins.
I need to start with my income. This is the total take home pay (after taxes) for me and my husband. This is both of our full time jobs, including any extra money that I make from being a Beachbody coach. (If you have social security, disability or any freelance jobs make sure to include that as well.)
Next it is time to list all of our expenses. I need to make sure to include all of my regular monthly bills…mortagage, electricity, phone, gas, Beachbody coaching fees, food etc. Don’t forget the irregular bills too. For me this would include Beachbody on Demand, insurances, etc. Anything that is due for the next month.
AFTER everything that I need to pay for is accounted for then I get to consider if there will be any money left over for the fun stuff like going out to eat or to the movies.
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, it just means you need to check your priorities and other goals first!
Budget to Zero
Now it is time to subtract my expenses from my income. My income minus my expenses should equal zero, this is called a zero based budget. I am telling my money where it should go, I get to be in charge. 🙂 By giving every dollar a name, you’re ensuring that every dollar is accounted for and working hard.
Track EVERY transaction
Now that a basic budget has been created for the month, it’s time to make sure I stick to it. As I go about my daily errands I am going to make sure to track EVERY transaction, even if it is for a stick of gum. NO matter how tiny it is, I am going to write it down. I have a little pocket notebook that I am going to use just for this purpose.
The whole idea behind this is that if I have to take the time to track the transaction it is going to make me stop and think about what I am spending my money on. Is it part of my budget? Is it really something that I need to buy at this point?
Remember that no two months are the same, so no two budgets will be the same either. It’s definitely ok to look back at last month’s budget but make sure to make adjustments for any new expenses or even a lack of income for the month.
This is your budget. Make sure to plan your budget early, zero it out and track your spending.
Check back for my next post about the Baby Steps. A budget without a plan or a map won’t help you accomplish your money goals or help you get out of debt. That is where the Baby Steps are going to help.
Sending strength, hope and love.