Budgeting Basics

As you get older and are nearing a point when you'll be in charge of your own finances, it's important to begin tracking your expenses and building a budget!


Why You Should Budget

  • Helps keep track of your spending
  • Lays out a plan of expenses that occur on a routine basis
  • Helps you save for unexpected expenses
  • Can keep you out of debt and help you save toward big goals

Let’s Build Your Budget
Two things are needed to create a budget – income and expenses. Easy enough! To Start, list out all your monthly income (money coming in) and expenses (money going out). 

A few tips to help you along the way.

  • Be REALISTIC – if you choose to budget $50/week for groceries, but have never spent under $100, re-evaluate. Or if you currently eat lunch out five times a week and now you are going to start bringing lunch, start slow, bring lunch two days, then three, and so on.
  • Understand WANTS v. NEEDS – Seems so simple, but we all struggle to fully grasp the difference. Plus, we are all different in our wants and needs.
  • Set GOALS and align your BUDGET – If your goal is to pay down debt, or acquire more reliable transportation, then keep them on your budget sheet, sticky notes on the mirror, constantly remind yourself of what you are trying to achieve.
  • Adjust the plan NEVER your Goal – My goal is to save $100/month, in my plan I’m putting $50 every two weeks in my account. I discover that I can’t balance my bills that way and I keep missing my goal. So, can you save $25 each week? Can you eliminate an expense like meals out, coffee, or limit driving to save gas?


Budgeting Tools 

  • BHFCU’s Money Management Tool
  • Pen and Paper – the easiest way to start a budget is to write it down.
  • Excel Spreadsheet – using an Excel document is a quick way to keep track of expenses.
  • Smartphone Apps – Free apps like Mint, Goodbudget, and EveryDollar.