"How to Make to a Budget" Suggestions Needed!

Updated on May 12, 2010
K.H. asks from Swords Creek, VA
13 answers

Hi! I am looking for a simple uncomplicated budget maker. I am very organized when it comes to the bills but I have yet to come up with a budget. Any tips that you have on your own or Any suggestions is appreciated. Thanks

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answers from Nashville on

I'm another Dave Ramsey fan. Not only does he have great budgeting tools, but also teaches you how to get out of debt and live debt free!

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answers from Chattanooga on

I think Dave Ramsey's budget workbook is awesome. He's really wise when it comes to finances.

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answers from Huntsville on

One suggestion I was given once was to break down what you have per week...

Take the amount of income you bring home for one month (after taxes, etc taken out). Say it's 2500. Then total up all of your known monthly bills (rent/house payment, car payments, daycare fees, car insurance, phone bill, Internet/ TV bill, utilities, any amount you want to save, etc). Say that's 1500. Then subtract that from your income, we'd have 1000 left. Now divide that by 4. That's how much you have per week for food, gas, extras, etc. In our example we'd have 250.

Now use that number to decide what & how much you should buy.

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answers from Knoxville on

Dave Ramsey is a well known financial person. He has many ideas and know how. The other thing I did was write down everything we spend, soda, coffee at the gas station, pick up dinner on the way home b/c I am too tired to cook etc. Also your things that are standard amounts, rent/mortgage, car payments, loans, credit cards, utility bills. If you can do billing with your utility companies to have the same amount every month it make budgeting easier. I just did my own budget using our standard payments, extras etc... I also left room for extra stuff that we use all the time that is on sale, new products to try, etc... Remember to put some away in a savings account and/or retirement fund.

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answers from Memphis on

Yeah, Dave Ramsey -- http://www.daveramsey.com -- has a simple online budget maker.

Since you're organized, it should be easy to look back at your past expenses to get an idea of how much you spend on things. Some expenses will be set (like mortgage/rent, car insurance, etc.) and others will be variable but probably pretty steady from month to month (gasoline, food, etc.) or will vary according to the time of year (electricity/gas).

The simplest way to do things is to start at the top with what your monthly income is (assuming it's steady), and then start subtracting your typical or known expenses, in order of importance from highest to lowest, until you get down to zero. Important "must-have" expenses include food, mortgage/rent, utilities, and expenses related to your car (or other form of transportation to and from work -- gas, car payment if you have one, insurance).

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Dave Ramsay's website! Or buy O. of his books, they come with some worksheets/masters in the back that you can use.
They even have versions for unpredictable income, etc.
EVERYONE can benefit from his awesome money budgeting/saving techniques (and no, I'm NOT on his payroll! lol).


answers from Rochester on

Keep all of your receipts for a month or so (or dig them out and look back), sit down with a notebook, and at least a month's worth of bank statements. It is easier for me to see what I have been doing rather than "starting over" and deciding what I should do now.

We are about to re-budget for the summer. I broke down a month's worth of transactions by category (gas, groceries, medical, entertainment, etc.), totalled the number of transactions, and averaged each as well. I keep grocery receipts so I can notice what major purchases we had (cat food is about $12, but it lasts forever; diapers are $38, but we buy them every 6 weeks, etc.). It helps me to see how often we go to the grocery store to make the most of each trip. We might spend $___ on gas, but if we spend about $25 each trip to the store and go five times a week, we are much better off trying to cut back on the spending by buying in bulk and going once or twice a week. I also like to look at a grocery list and see what we buy most often, I always total up alcohol purchases separately (that is a treat), etc.

I use a notebook to break down each month's bills and paychecks--I organize the due/pay dates, indicate the bill/payment, amount, and our paychecks and anticpated direct deposit amounts. It is easiest for me to look at what each paycheck has to cover, or what an earlier paycheck should cover if the next one won't. If you aren't on any budget plans, see if any of your utilities offer that--we pay a fixed amount for our gas heat year round based on each year's average monthly use. It is nice to pay the same amount but we still try to be conservative in the hopes that the next year's budget amount will be less.

You can also make a leftovers game for grocery and gas--if you spend under your budget, have a separate family account or jar and let it add up for something fun (or a rainy day). We're getting ready to sit down and look at our summer after some bumpy months, so I'm looking forward to reading some other ideas on here.



answers from Huntington on

Microsoft Office online has some Excel templates that are for budgets. You can download for free.



answers from St. Louis on

I can tell you what works for my family of 6.
I pulled all the bills out and made a list of approximate amounts due and dates they were due. From that I decided what bills needed to be paid out of which pay checks to ensure they were paid on time. Then I added up the bills for each paycheck to determine how much money would be left over. I then added in grocery money, gas for cars and any other out of pocket money needed like school lunches. From here I made adjustments if needed. I have a spiral note book. Each page represents a pay day and I put the pay date on the top of the page and list the bills I am going to pay and the amount. I total the amount I am going to be paying out. ( I keep the budget filled out for 6 months in advance. )
Now I can determine with the money left what I am going to spend on entertainment/eating out and what I am going to put in the savings account. I also write that down. It helps to use cash for extra things so you are not tempted to over spend.
Now another good idea is to have a budget for each bill. For example, I know we use about 200.00 a month for electric and gas combined. If the monthly bill comes in over $200.00, the extra money comes out of our fun money. That helps us to be aware of what we are spending and gives us an incentive to try to conserve. If we spend less that the budgeted amount, we put the money aside for special things we want to do or buy.
Staying organized in your budget is SO HELPFUL and is worth the time. You don't need to buy anything special to help you. A note book and a quiet place to sit will do the trick. Once you have a handle on your spending it is easy to keep it in line.



answers from Kansas City on

I would check out Dave Ramsey's website. He has several budeting tools and they are awesome. We have been using them since January and it makes our monthly budget so much easier. Here is the website: http://www.daveramsey.com

Best of luck to you!



answers from Lexington on

Use the budget maker from Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover". I HIGHLY suggest buying the book. Also, once you have decided on a budget, I suggest creating a real-time interactive spreadsheet in Google Docs that you can share with your household, if you have another adult in the household. It is easy to use and keeps us on track every paycheck. Additionally, put as many bills on EFT or ACH as possible, keeping in mind that you will need to remember (or continue getting bills in order to be reminded of) the due date. Using this system (after graduating from Financial Peace University), we are now debt free, have saved SO much money, AND are living like no one else around us - and stressfree!! GOOOOOOD EFFORT! If you can stick to a budget, you will be ahead of the culture!



answers from Charlotte on

Mint.com has some neat, free tools, especially if you like pie charts. :-)



answers from San Antonio on

Ditto on the Dave Ramsey site!

Very awesome site and his Total Money Makeover would help too!

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