Basic Budgeting Tips to Get You Started

Let’s face it—we could all do better with budgeting. Whether you just splurged on a pair of jeans you really didn’t need, or eat out one too many nights a week, money goes faster than you think. Those daily lattes add up, after all. If you’re new to budgeting, it can seem like an overwhelming territory to navigate. These tips keep it simple so you can tackle this responsibility with ease.

Figure out what your monthly expenses are.

I’ve played the game before of adding things up in my head and coming up with an arbitrary number of how much I spend a month. But sitting down and actually looking at your bank statements to see what you’re spending is another story. Break it down into the various categories you’re spending in so you can see where it is you can cut back.

Set goals.

Is there a trip you’re saving up for? Are you trying to make your own meals instead of eating out as much? Have you had your eye on a designer purse for a while? Everyone has something that they want to save up for, so set goals for yourself! This will create an incentive for when you notice yourself spending frivolously.

Don’t spend more than you make.

This sounds like a no brainer, but believe it or not, 43 percent of Americans spend more than they make on a monthly basis. That’s a pretty startling number, and you don’t want to be a part of it. Only put on credit what you can afford.

Actually stick to your budget.

We’re only human, and we all have slip-ups. But don’t let one indulgent extra-large latte on a crappy Monday turn into a daily ritual—before you know it, the budget is out the window. Set reminders on your phone or have a trusty friend hold you accountable so you remember to stick to your monetary goals.

Put the extra money into savings.

Out of sight, out of mind—that’s how I view my savings account. I don’t view the money in my savings as spendable. I see it as money that will go towards a big-ticket item or a once-in-a-lifetime trip down the line.

There are countless other budgeting tips, but stick to these basics and you’ll be off to a great start. Happy saving!