Building your Personal Budget


Budgeting is the process of creating a plan to spend your personal income and is a key instrument to help you take control and reduce financial stress. The purpose of a budget is to figure out how much money you have available for a specific reason. No matter your income level, a budget is a great tool to balance your income and expenses.

Why is having a budget so important?

Budgets help you:

  • Have control over your money: A budget provides a clear picture of where your money is going. Without a budget, you might spend money on things you don’t need without realizing how these expenses impact your ability to save or pay for necessary expenses.
  • Ensure you don’t spend money you don’t have: Budgeting helps prevent overspending by creating limits. It keeps you in check to ensure you don’t spend more than your income.
  • Reach your goals: If you have financial goals like buying a house, starting a business, or retiring early, a budget can help you estimate how much you need to save and help you reach those goals.
  • Prepare for emergencies: Life is full of unexpected surprises, and not all of them are pleasant. Having a budget that includes saving for an emergency fund can help you weather financial surprises without needing to go into debt.
  • Save money: Track where your money goes. You may identify areas where you’re overspending or where costs can be cut. You may also be more motivated to seek out sales or negotiate better deals for services.
  • Reduce stress: Knowing that you have a plan for your money can greatly reduce the stress of living paycheck to paycheck and can give you a sense of security about your financial future.

How do I create a budget?

  • Plan to budget: Choose a day when you have uninterrupted time to work on your budget. You don’t have to do it all in one sitting. Work on your budget bit by bit.    
  • Identify all sources of income: Income can include salaries, dividends, interest, rental income, etc.
  • Identify all your expenses: Expenses include fixed expenses like rent/mortgage or car repayments that don’t change month-to-month, as well as variable expenses such as groceries, entertainment, dining out, and unexpected costs that do change month-to-month.
  • Categorize your expenses: Review what you have spent and sort them into categories to create a quick glance at your budget.
  • Set your financial goals: Whether it’s saving for retirement, a down payment on a house, an emergency fund, or paying off debt, think about your financial goals.
  • Build your budget plan: Now, write down your income and expenses and work out how much you need to put away for each of your financial goals.
  • Review your plan: Once your budget plan is done, decide if you are happy. Should you decrease spending or increase income?
  • Set up time for the next review: Regularly reviewing and adjusting your budget is important because things may change over time. It’s important to adjust your budget accordingly. You should review your budget every few months to make sure that it still meets your needs.

Budgeting tips

  • Don’t set a budget that is too rigid. It’s important to leave room for unexpected expenses. 
  • Include a savings “expense” and automate a savings deduction into your savings account every month.   
  • Simplify your budget as much as possible so you can keep your monthly expenses in check and avoid time-consuming tasks. 
  • When creating a budget or plan, consider the creation of an emergency fund.   

Remember, budgeting is not about restriction. It’s about understanding and controlling your money so you can achieve your financial goals.

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