How to Create a Budget That Works For You

Budgeting doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should be personalized. If you start by building a budget based on your unique needs and wants, you will be more likely to stick to it.

Think about what you value most and what matters to you, then decide how every dollar you work for shapes and adds value to your current and future life. There are bills you need to pay and things you want to purchase. You can do it all with a little bit of planning.

Review your current spending by categorizing your monthly expenses. This will help you see how you are spending your money. Check yourself. Does eating out account for more of your monthly spending than you realized? Do your financial goals match the things you value most in life? If you value security, are you building an emergency fund? If helping your children pay for college is important to you, do you have a plan in place? If you value experiences, are you saving enough to enjoy traveling and other adventures?

5 simple steps to building a budget that works for you:

  1. Identify your take home (after taxes) monthly income
  2. Categorize your expenses and spending – make sure you include any annual, quarterly or seasonal expenses
  3. Separate and total your monthly (necessary) bills vs. your monthly discretionary spending
  4. Make a list of long-term financial goals based on matters most to you, and make a plan to reach these goals
  5. Set reasonable spending and saving goals based on prior monthly expenses, your income, and your long-term goals

Check back on a regular basis. How are you doing sticking to your goals? If you keep maxing out one of your spending goals, are there changes you can make to your expenses? If not, maybe that goal needs to be adjusted. It’s important to be realistic.

Keep it simple and hold yourself accountable with Personal Finance in Online Banking and the GSB Mobile App. This intuitive money management tool will categorize expenses for you (check out the Spending tool), and even suggest spending goals based on your previous monthly expenses (check out the Budget tool). The Cash Flow tool can help you determine when you can pay certain bills. You can also plug your long-term financial goals into the Goals tool to plan for the future.

Spend your money intentionally and you will feel much more in control of your finances. Small changes and a simple budget can help you achieve your goals.

Lesley breaks it down in this short video:

Have questions or looking for a little help with your budget? Our Financial Wellness Coaches, Erika Taylor and Lesley Warn, are available to chat about all things money management. Get in touch with them.