You may cringe at the mention of a budget. We’ve been trained to think it is time-consuming and involves a great deal of math, complete with Excel spreadsheets. Well, some budgets involve those things, but the following budget is simple to do and fairly easy to follow.
The first thing you must determine is how you will access this budget at any point through the month. This may be an index card in your wallet or an app on your phone. You need to be able to pull it out at restaurants, while shopping or while having a conversation about an impromptu trip.
Second thing is knowing the numbers. You need to have your income and either exact amounts or estimates for expenses. Bonus points if you also know what extracurricular plans you have for the month.
Okay, now let’s see how this should look. For these purposes, we are modeling the index card format.
Some notes: the left side of the card is top priority. Those expenses are fixed for the most part. The right side is less necessary, so depending on your balance after you subtract your fixed expenses from your income, the right side may not have much on it.
If eating out with friends is a top priority for you, you may want to add this line. A good practice, however, is to use what’s left in your account after all expenses—fixed and not—are taken care of.
This is simple finance knowledge: your expenses should be less than your income. But it isn’t always simple to practice. Writing down your income and planned expenses should help you make decisions on the spot, but start out referring to the card before making any purchase decision.