Establishing Your 2018 Budget

Budget

Now that 2018 has begun in earnest it is time to look at personal finances. One of the best ways to help with finances is to establish a budget and stick with it. To put a budget together start with regular monthly income. If income fluctuates significantly then use the amount of income that is reasonably guaranteed per month.

Next document required monthly expenses. With 2017 completed it should be relatively easy to pull together expenditures in the last year and project normal monthly expenses. If only the amounts that are paid such as credit card bills, car payments, etc. are used realize other expenses like groceries, entertainment and basic household items need to be included.

After subtracting expenses from income it is time to adjust the budget. If additional money is available after all expenses are paid that is great. Some things to consider budgeting the extra cash towards are an emergency fund, general savings, entertainment, investments and increased charitable giving.

If there is less money available than is needed to pay the expenses then adjustments are required. Either a reduction in expenses, or an increase in income is needed. If high interest debt coupled with large balances is challenging financial success then maybe borrowing money at a lower interest rate and using those funds to pay off balances will be smart. Selling items and using the extra money to supplement income, or picking up a short term job may also be a solution.

Once the plan is in place the challenge will be consistently sticking to the budget. Having financial discipline may require short term sacrifices, but projected long term rewards should make the changes worthwhile.