Why I Budget and How to Budget: Personal Finance In A Nutshell

 

I used to sit with my dad as he combed through the finances, his brows furrowed in concentration.

He’d sit on a stool at our open kitchen and just devour the information over a cup of joe. I was curious. Why did he devote all this time to his spreadsheet? Was this a work project?

He went over how he calculated all the household expenses and income and balance it all. He kept tabs on check balances and even his car depreciation.

It m kind of went over my head. I was busy just trying to figure out what I wanted for breakfast or how to laze around for the day. I honestly spent a majority of my 20s not knowing about my finances or how much I made. I always worked during college and had a plethora of jobs after. I could afford the things and experiences I wanted, but I didn’t really know how much was being spent; how much was wasted or saved. To this day I wonder, could I been saving during this time?

The first time I had to budget I just made a list of the income and combed through every single expenditure that I made. Then at the end subtracted the expenses from the income. Every coffee I bought, every lunch I ate out, and every trip to Target I took was recorded. It hurt. I literally cringed when I realized how much was being wasted.

I mean, did I really spend $50 on coffee this month??

And what was that subscription on my card? They’ve been charging me for over a year!

I realized I could be saving thousands a year and making more of my money if I accounted for it all and held myself responsible on how it was spent. However, I realized this wayyy too late in the game; the money was already spent. I felt really bad after realizing how much was wasted. Part of me didn’t want to keep going and budgeting, that’s how bad I felt.

Now It’s been 3 years of budgeting. 3 years. I keep it all on a spreadsheet. Google Spreadsheets :). I can track how much my income has increased in those 3 years. I can track how much my overall spending has been by category. I can brainstorm on ways to cut costs or increase income. I can make long term goals like paying off all my debt and estimate the last payment date.

Omg I love spreadsheets!

And I don’t spend hours upon hours on it. I pretty much spend a half hour tracking my spending twice a month. Once in the middle and again at the end. Literally ONE HOUR a month. I recommend setting mid month goals and then reassessing for the latter part of the month if you clear or are unable to meet your goals

Below is a simple sample of what you can do

Income

Take home Salary $2500

Expenses

Rent $-700

Food $-250

Transportation $-200

Internet $-50

Electricity $-50

Phone $-70

Misc (shopping/medical related costs/eating out) $-600

Credit card payments $-100

Student loans $-150

Total expenditures= $-2170

Savings $330

Tip: Put your savings towards credit card debts and student loans to make the payoff date faster. Or save part of it for an unexpected expense.

I wouldn’t say budgeting will fix any money problems overnight but it will definitely give you a sense of control over your finances, plan for a rainy day and create a long term plan with goals. But personal finance and gaining control of your spending/earning is the first step.

Feel free to comment below on your goals or feedback on your budget!

Check out my other post:

One Of The Biggest Financial Decisions You’ll Ever Make

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