Whether you’re single or have a family, having a budget is crucial. If you’ve never budgeted before it may seem like an overwhelming task as every bill must be reviewed and every dollar accounted for but it’s the first step to learning how to budget like a pro. It’s a daunting task at first, but once you get past it you’ll find yourself saving money left and right. This will open the door for you to save money for a new home, pay for your or your child’s education, buy a car, or even renovate your home.

Budgeting isn’t just for adults. If you have children this is also a great way to tell them about money and how to manage it. Teaching them with a little bit of patience and restraint, they too can buy things they want as well. Starting them young will ensure this habit will stay with them into adulthood.  

Below, I’m going to share some beginner tips that will teach you how to budget like a pro.

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Set your financial goals

At the start of any process that you wish to carry out successfully, it’s suggested that you set clear goals for yourself in the beginning. Knowing the exact reasons why you wish to learn how to budget like a pro will enable you to stay focused on your financial goals. If you have a family it’s absolutely necessary that you involve every working contributing member of the family when you set your financial goals. When everyone is aware of the goals, everyone will find it easier to be smarter about their money and only spend it when necessary. This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself every now and then, but you need to be mindful of the common financial goal.

Figure out the source of the money and every place it’s being spent

Now you’ve established your financial goals it’s time to work on the root cause of the problem – money flow. Don’t just sit down at the kitchen table trying to remember these things. Pull out your pay stubs, bill and bank statements, and shopping receipts. Write down your money income source(s) and next to it write down the bills where your money is going. This is the most basic and important thing you need to do and know when beginning your budgeting journey. Having a clear idea about the money flow plays a crucial role when you actually sit down to draw the budget.

Know the difference between what you want in life and what you actually need to survive

Now let’s get to itemizing. This when you sit down and list everything you spend your money on each month and tally it up. Now we come to the difficult part of recognizing what we want versus what we need. In order to budget like a pro, you need to have clear boundaries between your needs and what you want to be happy. These two terms might feel like the same things but they are definitely the opposite sides of a coin. You need to focus on spending your money on the absolute essentials so you can live comfortably. Things that are needed should never be ignored and you should have the proper amount allotted for these things in your budget. At the same time, you have to be smart to spend only a dedicated amount on stuff you want. Of course, it’s okay to be a little bit selfish and get something you don’t really need, remember you’re trying to establish a new habit.

Now it’s time to make your new budget

Creating the actual budget might seem like something you don’t wish to do but it’s a must. There are amazing online tools like Mint that can help you stay on track so you don’t have to struggle. For families, this will give everyone a chance to make the budget allowing them to choose their wants and needs. Your budget doesn’t have to be perfect in beginning.  There will be a few flaws a forgotten bill here and there but this budget has to be something every member can follow. Once you get into the groove of your new budget, you’ll understand you’ve already won half the battle.

Review the budget and make changes whenever needed

Track your budget as often as possible and make changes whenever necessary. Don’t feel disappointed if your budget isn’t working out the way you wanted or changes that need to be made. Such revisions only allow you to perfect your budget more and be more financially comfortable. Celebrate small wins and be smart about big financial decisions you want to make. The more careful you are about tracking your financial journey, the better you’ll be at following the budget.

Read Read Read

Creating a budget is only the first step the next step to understanding money management is, financial education. Read books that are not only geared towards helping you budget but to also help you achieve financial freedom. Here are some titles to get you started.

Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By – Cary Siegel

The Simple Path To Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life – JL Collins

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence – Vicki Robin

The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living: Save Money, Plan Ahead, Pay Off Debt & Live Well – Daisy Luther

Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together – Erin Lowry

Join budgeting and finance groups

One of the fastest ways you can begin to budget like a pro is by joining budgeting groups. These types of groups are invaluable as like-minded people share tips that have worked for them with others. They teach you how to coupon, ways to save money on your grocery bill, and other financial shortcuts. Here are some groups to get you started. 

Family Finance & Budgeting Tips

Mindful Budgeting – Take Control of Your Finances

TBM  Family (Savings Tips, Budgeting, and Finance Talk)

Couponing for Beginners Made Easy

Beginner Couponing 101

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I hope these tips help you feel excited about walking towards a more financially stable life. For those who are budgeting, what tips do you have that help you budget like a pro? Share in the comments below.

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Maria Antionette is a professional hairstylist, DIY creator and fashion lover with a belief that beauty can be fun, easy and simple.
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