Addressing your financial situation and distinguishing between needs and wants is an important first step to cover before creating a budget. Acknowledgment of the areas in which you're overspending can be an eye-opening experience. Creating a budget and sticking to it can help you to save and reach your short- and long-term financial goals. This is not a one-time exercise. Revisit and rework your budget as your financial situation evolves so that, if you have a new job, a financial windfall or setback, it will reflect your current situation.
Ready to get started? Understanding the following key components will help you as you begin to build a monthly or annual budget:
- Fixed expenses are expenses which stay the same from month to month, such as rent payment, subscriptions, insurance, utilities such as internet, transportation card and school fees.
- Flexible expenses are expenses which change from month to month, such as water and electric-power utilities, groceries, and entertainment.
- Total expenses are the combined amount of your fixed and flexible expenses.
- Total monthly income is the income from your job or other resources including rental income, side business, government benefits, and others.
- Disposable income is the money left over once taxes are subtracted from your income.
The next step is to create your monthly budget using this basic Budget Worksheet. If you find you are unable to follow your budget, it may mean you're spending beyond your means or that your budget isn't flexible enough. Take the time to review and readjust your budget monthly until you find a plan which will work for you.
Here is a simple rule to follow when setting up your budget:
Income – Expenses = Savings
Income > Expenses = Financial Health
If you’re looking to budget for specific goals, check out our budgeting calculators. They’re powerful tools for exploring ways to manage your finances: