How to Make a Budget

When I first set up a monthly budget, it was a game-changer. Before taking that step, my spending was frivolous. Now, I have a financial structure, a plan to follow, and an idea of where I’m headed. I love being able to clearly see where my money is actually going.

Of course there are a million ways to set up a budget but below are the steps I would recommend taking to get the process started.

I break my monthly budget spread into three main categories: income, essentials, and non-essentials. This can be done on a computer in excel, but I like to use my bullet journal!

  1. Income

First, get really clear about what you actually make. Write down your monthly income. This can be from one or more sources. Try to be realistic, and don’t overestimate! You want to give yourself some breathing room.

2. Essentials

Second, write down your monthly spending that is essential. This could include gas or public transportation fees, car insurance, phone bill, groceries, utilities, loan payments etc. Then, go through and write an amount that you are expecting to spend for each category that month.

3. Non-essentials

Third, write down your monthly spending that is non-essential. This could include eating out, clothes, beauty products, “fun money” (grabbing drinks, going to the movies, etc.). Again, write an amount that you are expecting to spend in each category.

Sometimes I add a fourth section for any extras that may be going on that month (a special trip, someone’s birthday, a holiday, etc). This allows me to continue to stick to a budget even when something out of the ordinary is going on.

After all your sections are complete, add it all together so you are able to see your total projected monthly spending. Take that amount and subtract it from your projected income. This leaves you with a number that is left over. Any left over money can be used for saving (trips, a down payment, retirement, etc.)!

Happy budgeting! 🙂

Do you stick to a monthly budget? What tips would you give?


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