A budget sheet is immensely useful for anyone who needs to watch what they spend. It is particularly necessary for hard up families, and for many students budgeting is a priority. This article looks at a simple way to make and use a monthly budget sheet.
Buy a large book for your budgeting
You need somewhere to keep your budget sheet, and it is worth investing in a large, hardback book with ready-made columns. These can be found in most stationers and similar shops. It is possible to keep your budget sheet in an old exercise book or simply on sheets of paper. However, if you do this, they are very likely to disappear. Label the book and make sure you know where it is. A budget sheet is a good debt buster, but it must be taken seriously from the start.
List your money coming in
Make columns for all sources of income. This may be money which is earned from a job or business, benefits, pensions, or other forms of income. Have a "miscellaneous" column for things you might not have thought of. For instance, perhaps you sell things on eBay from time to time.
List your outgoings
For most people, this is more complicated. Make a series of columns for every type of outgoing you have. Examples might be food, petrol, fares, electric and other bills, insurance, and so on. Try to make sure everything you are likely to spend has a column, including one for entertainment, meals out, etc
and include a miscellaneous section at the end for anything you have not thought of.
Using your budget sheet
This is the difficult bit! As you receive or spend money, you need to remember to mark it on the budget sheet for this month. Make sure every member of the family does this, and that nothing is left out, including little thigns like a cup of coffee you had while out shopping or a small impulse buy. These things add up. Go through the sheet every day, making sure that everything is on there. it will be hard to remember at the beginning, but it will get easier. At the end of the month, total all your columns. Gradually, as the months go on, you will see where your money goes, and be able to work out where to make savings if you need to. Eventually, you will wonder how you ever managed without your monthly budget sheet!