By Jo Ann Brown Author - Getting Started On Your 401(k) Plan
Step 1 - Figure out how much income you have. Add all of your income sources together. Take home pay alimony child support Step 2 - Write down what you think you will be spending in the following categories: Housing: Rent or Mortgage Property taxes Food: Groceries Restaurant meals Lunches at work School lunches Utilities: Electric Gas Telephone Cell phone Long Distance Water Garbage Personal: Prescriptions Laundry Dry Cleaning Hair Care Clothing Toiletries Family: Child Support Day care Babysitting Childrens allowance Pet food/supplies/veterinarian Basics: Furniture Appliances Home cleaning/repair supplies Transportation: Car payment Gasoline Oil Repairs Tires Registration Inspection Public Transportation Parking Insurance: Car Life Property/casualty Disability Renter Burial Recreation and Entertainment Hobbies Vacation Shows/Movies Dining/Entertainment Alcohol Tobacco Lottery tickets/gambling Cable TV Gifts Church Birthdays Holidays Savings Miscellaneous Step 3 - After you have created your budget, you need to keep records of your actual income and expenses. This will help you see the difference between the amount you budgeted and what you actually spent. Step 4 -As you track your monthly expenses, you may need to trim expenses. Cutting back is usually a better place to start than cutting out. Youll be better prepared for emergencies if your budget is realistic and if you use it to guide your expenses.