It is a good idea for you to put together your own unique budget work sheet when it comes to getting started in setting up a budget for your household. Make sure that the categories and the information that you use to plug in your budget information pertains to your own personal needs. If you are using budget categories that do not apply to your own budget needs, then you are wasting time and energy and ending up with something that you simply cannot get the most out of.
The categories that you choose for your budget should be detailed enough that they provide you with useful and informative data, but not so detailed that you end up becoming bogged down in uselessness. First you should be listing all of your sources of income, such as:
- Wages from your job or jobs
- Child Support
- Rental Income
- Interest Income
- Dividend Income
- Income from Capital Gains
- Other Types of Income
Next what you are going to want to do is to list whatever expense categories you are interested in tracking. You should try to begin with more detail rather than less. You can also always break your categories down further o combine them together later if you decide you want to track your budget in a different way. Here are some sample categories for expenses: Savings, credit card payments, eating out, dry cleaning, child support, alimony, federal income taxes, retirement contributions, mortgage, rent, insurance, student loan payments, state income taxes, hobbies, investments, utilities, loans, medical expenses out of pocket, interest expenses, pet expenses, local income taxes, auto expenses, computer expenses, home maintenance expenses, magazines and books, miscellaneous expenses, transportation expenses, child care, social security taxes, property taxes, personal care products, recreation, entertainment and personal care products.
Do not forget to add things that come up a few times a year but are not considered to be monthly expenditures such as birthday gifts, insurance, clothing and so on. The more detailed that you are when planning the expense categories for your budget, the more intuitive your budget will be when it comes to actually keeping track of how money goes into those expense categories.
Keep in mind: The first rule when it comes to personal finance is that you should pay yourself first. Make sure that “Savings” is one of your expense categories and make sure that you are paying a set amount into this account every single month at the same time that you are paying your bills. Do not plan your savings around whatever happens to be left when everything else is paid, but rather make a point to pay yourself before everything else so that there is always something left to go into savings.