As the years going on responsibility comes whether we like it or not.  Telling a 21-year-old to budget is like telling a toddler to brush his teeth.  It’s not fun, but extremely beneficial.  Here are a few ways to get your budget started and keep it going strong throughout the year.

  Okay let’s talk business.  The first step to a successful budget is figuring out how much you bring to the table and how much is going out the window.  Once you know your income then write it down.  Making a budget can be tedious so try to have fun with it. Follow my example and make your budget page look creative. It will be easier for you to stomach.

John Kazaklis, 22, says “you should start your budget by figuring out what you will gain annually then monthly.  After you know your income, then separate what you spend on necessities and what you spend for leisure.”

For this article, I wrote a monthly budget, but it would be a smart idea to write in your annual income, especially if you are trying to pay off school loans.

Now it’s time to write out the things that you will spend on monthly. Examples: tithe, rent, gas, electric, water, groceries. When picking items for necessities, you should choose items that you cannot live without.  Write down the amount that you must pay right next to the item.                                          Add all these up to see what you are spending monthly on necessities.  After you have that total then subtract it from your initial income amount.  This number will show you how much money you have left for leisure items.

Next, make a list of items that is not as vital to everyday living.

For example: savings, miscellaneous, shopping, auto, and travel.  Always put some money into savings. Savings could include paying off student loans or credit card debt.

Or you could have a separate sections devoted to student loan payments or credit card payments.  After you right out how much money you want to put into each item them add them all up.  Once you have that number then subtract the numbers from the two lists and you will hopefully have some left over money. I would suggest taking the left over money out and use it for tolls or late night McDonald’s runs. You never know when you might need some extra cash.

If you want to start a budget but don’t want to sit down and write it all out on paper, then maybe doing it online is the best route for you.

Josh Daniel, 23, says, “There are websites such as mint.com that will budget your income for free.  All you need to do is create an account.  The website will show you what your trends are and will help you budget accordingly.”

Great websites such as mint.com will help when you don’t feel like doing the math and personalizes your budget according to what you like to spend your money on. The site gives great tips on how to budget better and connects to your personal bank account.

Kazaklis says, “It’s never too late to budget.  If you don’t budget your money then you don’t have control over your money.”

Remember that budgeting should be a joyful experience because you are taking the reigns on your financial future. Follow this catchy motto: Don’t hate, appreciate.

Happy Budgeting!

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