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When the term "budget" comes to mind, many people tend to wince or worry. That's because the first thought when budgets are mentioned involves proverbially "tightening the belt" or that there's something going on that has to be addressed by cutting off certain liberties. Eating out, going out, take outeverything "out", with nothing fun left in. That's actually not what a budget is about at all!

The Budget

In truth, a budget is essentially the listing of how much money you have coming in, and how all of it goes out. Money earned and then the money spent, basically. It's ideal for the way to properly establish one's future in the financial sense. Everyone would do well to have a budget to help with directing and steering their lives in the right direction. 

A budget is essentially the most ideal foundation for a person's finances. A person's financial situation is unique to them; no two financial situations are exactly alike.

Read on to learn more about making and managing a budget:

Steps to Make a Budget

  • Set clear goals
  • Calculate income and expenses
  • Analyse spending
  • If you have a chequebook, balance it
  • Revisit your initial budget
  • Commit

Make Sure to Pick the Budgeting System That Works Best for You

There is more than one way to do a budget; the basics come to a core four. Being organised and having a keen eye for details are the foundation of any budget. It's usually the techniques that vary somewhat:

  • Financial Software - This one requires more than just a basic understanding of software use. Programs like Quicken are excellent in this department.
  • Free Online Software - Thankfully, there are plenty of software that's available online for free, which can play a huge role in budgeting. Mint.com and Manilla are great programs that help with the creation and grouping of expenses into appropriate categories. It's ideal for spending to be tracked to have a good view of your finances the very moment transactions happen.
  • Notebook and Pen - This method is the most traditional one out of all of them. It's also widely used because it costs little to nothing. Step one: Writing down all streams of income and all expenses. Step two: Seeing if they balance each other out. If they come out balanced, then it's good to go.
  • Spreadsheet - There's quite a lot of software that can be used for budgeting. However, the most widely used one is Microsoft Excel. Budgeting sample worksheets from said software are available through several websites for free. Aside from organising the data with ease, Microsoft Excel will also be able to get your math done almost immediately.

Conclusion

Budgeting usually brings to mind a lot of possible restrictions or giving things up. In truth, the whole point of budgeting is really just to have a clear picture of how much you make and how much gets spent. Key steps to making a budget include setting clear goals and analysing spending. Management includes making sure which budgeting system works for you.

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