Most people will FAIL at their budget within THE FIRST 90 days.

You’re going to make it to day 91.

If you can’t do that, you are not serious about changing. You are clearly ‘bout that life of being broke and wondering if each paycheck will be enough to pay your bills.  Don’t read any further. I’m only going to bore you.

If you’re actually tired of being broke, tired of handing out your money to an endless line of people, and you are ready to change your life… then let’s do this. Right now.

sponge

Step 1 – Calculate your monthly income.

Step 2 – Add up your fixed monthly expenses.

Step 3 – Set financial goals.

Step 4 – Add up your “fun” expenses.

Step 5 – Subtract your income from your expenses.

Step 6 – Adjust, adjust, adjust.

Before we get started, I am going to change your terminology. Stop calling yourself “poor” and stop calling yourself “broke”. You’re “an adult”. There is a distinct difference

  • Poor: Not having enough money for things you need.
  • Broke: Not having enough money for things you want.
  • Adults: Have enough money for the things you need first, and want second.

Alright. Grab a piece of paper and let’s break it down.

Is paper not your speed? Check out my FREE budgeting tool here.

Step 1 – Calculate your monthly income.

Begin by figuring out how much money you are actually bringing home. For majority of us, myself included, that’s their salary. Grab a paystub and get to work! If you work overtime or part-time, always try to estimate your paychecks as if they are always going to be on the lower side. This way, the extra pay is just that…EXTRA PAY.

*If you are a small business owner, have additional income, or a side hustle; try to best estimate what your average monthly income will be. If your income varies per month, take an average for the last 90 days.

Here comes the tedious part.

Step – 2 Add up your fixed monthly expenses.

  1. Rent | Mortgage
  2. Electricity | Gas | Water
  3. Car Payment | Car Insurance
  4. Gasoline
  5. Cell Phone Bill
  6. Groceries
  7. Loans / Debts

That’s right. Write it all down. If it’s a cost that doesn’t change by very much (and won’t be going anywhere in the next 30 days)… WRITE. IT. DOWN.

If you are not sure where to start, check out your bank statements and figure out where your money has been going over the last 90 days. It might feel overwhelming at first, but being as accurate as possible is crucial to changing your life.

Step 3 – Set up financial goals.

What are you wanting to accomplish?

  1. Save $1,000 for rainy days.
  2. Get out of debt.
  3. Buy a new car or house.
  4. Fully fund a retirement account.

Make a list of about 3 short-term goals and 2 long-term goals that you want to accomplish. Keep this list handy. We’ll be using it later.

Also, write down that you will save $1,000 for emergencies, even if it’s saving $10 a month to get you there.

The first time my rainy day savings bailed me out was in May of 2012. My husband went to the doctor and we didn’t realize that his health insurance had lapsed. He was no longer covered. We got a bill from the doctor for $192. I remember him being worried about the invoice and him informing me that the doctor’s office accepts payment plans.

I wrote a check instead.

Do you know how that felt?! Not having to freak out is the single most liberating feeling you could possibly have financially.

Flat tires. Car problems. Leaking dishwasher. Broken arm. Life is going to happen, and you are going to need to be ready for it. Would you like to scramble and spazz out? Or would you like to write a check? The choice is yours.

Step 4 – Write down your “fun” expenses.

These are the ones that you currently pay for, but are non-essential.

  • Saving up for holiday gifts
  • Vacations
  • Dining Out
  • Entertainment

Notice that these come after your fixed expenses and financial goals. Having fun and rewarding yourself is important, but putting your bills and goals FIRST is absoultely mandatory.

Step 5 – Subtract your income from your expenses.

Grab a calculator and subtract your expenses from your take home pay to determine what your cash flow looks like.

  • If you’ve got money left over, then you are earning more money than you’re spending.
  • If you break even, then you have exactly enough money to make it–but not much further.
  • If you get a negative number, then you are spending more money than you are earning.

Step 6 – Adjust, adjust, adjust.

  • If you’ve had money left over, let’s check out what we can change. For example, you may have quite a few hundred dollars sitting around. That money can easily be saved or used towards paying off debts. Any dollar that doesn’t have a column is a dollar that isn’t working for you. Give it a mission.
  • If you broke even, let’s look at the “fun” columns first. What can we can cut back on? Next, check out the “fixed” columns. Is that gym membership or cable bill truly necessary? You want to make sure you have a surplus because, trust me, it’s going to take many attempts over the next few months at getting this budget right.
  • If you got a negative number, we’ve got work to do. Double check your numbers. Still doesn’t work? Let’s decrease the “fun” columns first, and fixed expenses second. Try to spend less on going out to eat, or other non-essential things. Keep fine tuning things and repeating step 5 until you are healthy and balanced.

Important Note: As you make adjustments, make sure your financial goals are being met before spending money in “fun” items. Sunny vacations can wait if you don’t have a rainy day fund at home.

Look back down. See what you have?

YOU HAVE CREATED A BUDGET.

Now that it’s on paper, your biggest job is to implement, monitor, and make adjustments to your budget as at least once a week. The first few months will be bumpy while you smooth things out. Stay focused. The hardest step is always the first step.

A budget does not tell you what you can’t do. It tells you what you CAN do.

You can keep your house. You can save for vacations. You can take control of your life. You can stop worrying every time you swipe your debit card or check your account balance.

One final note.

Most people give up on their budget before 90 days. I challenge you to commit for at least 90 days.

And don’t forget, you’re not “poor” or “broke”… you’re a responsible adult.

adulthood

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