How To Budget For Beginners

One of the MANY questions I get asked is…”How do I start a budget?!”
So go get a cup of coffee/tea (hey, whatever works!) and come back to join me on this extensive post all about the dreaded budget!

Budgeting for Beginners

 

Top Tip!

Now my top secret tip for beginners is to set up your budget and just do what you normally do for a month. Track your spending habits, your bills, your income. Gather it all neatly and simply watch what you are doing. this allows you to see where your money is going and what you can cut back on vs. what you cannot stop doing.

My second tip on budgeting is to start small! Don’t overwhelm yourself. All life changing habits do not occur over a month. This is trial and error and for the first few months you will not reach your goal, and that is okay! During the first month of tracking my spending, I spent (ugh can’t believe I am admitting this!) 545.82 on Mics. items. This was eating out, clothing, and anything that is not really needed. I set up a miscellaneous fund of $100 to have fun with for the month, HEY a girl has got to have a little fun..RIGHT?! but I was 445.82 over what I thought I could do. The next month I upped my allotment for the month to $200.00 and I was able to keep that goal.

Setting a Budget

How do I set up my budget? First, I break it down into categories based on my bills.

  • Rent
  • Groceries
  • School Loans
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto Loan
  • Insurance (car)
  • Gas
  • Phone
  • Miscellaneous

Second, I calculate what is needed to make minimum payments on all necessities. Next, I allow myself that much money to pay them. I calculate how much money I will have left. I think of all the things I will need that month, a haircut, a birthday gift etc., I add this into my Mics. allotment. Take all income, savings, and debts and place them on a spread sheet, I use Exel for this.

Now, what do I do with the money I have saved that month? I take ALL of it ( I already have an emergency fund) and put it towards the debt with the highest interest rates. Right now happens to be my auto loan.

Personally, I do not use the snowball effect. Not that I think there is anything wrong with it, I just don’t believe its right for me.The best way for me to pay down my debt is to focus on how much  interest will be paid over time and try to knock that down as low as possible.

I really hope this beginners budgeting plan has helped motivate you to start tracking your spending and to create your own budget. Please share your budgeting tips in the comments below! 

and if you still need some motivation check out my Favorite Financial Quotes.

I love to hear from my readers so feel free to email me to Kelley.aroura@gmail.com

50 comments

  1. Cricket Plunkett

    I’m gonna try some of these tips this month and see if it makes a difference

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Great to hear! Come back and let me know how it works for you! or if you have learned any tips of your own 🙂

  2. Kristina

    Budgeting is my arch nemesis! It is something I know I should do/want to do, but it’s always so hard for me. I like the idea of starting out by tracking your spending habits. I did that once but never took it to the next level haha. These are great tips for starting a budget and actually make it look easier than I am probably making it out to be.

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      YES MAM! It is way easy, I learned through YouTube how to use Excel..and those skills actually helped get me my day job. Excel and I are BFF’s now! If you ever need help feel free to contact me.

  3. Ivonne

    Excellent budgeting advice for young beginners especially! Getting a grip on living within your means is key to a thriving and financially established future.

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Now that is some advice I wish I read years ago! You do not need all the fancy things to “live” while young. Thanks for sharing!

  4. lex

    your list is good, and anyone who is planning good and decent budgeting should make do with your list as its detailed and direct. top tips i call this.

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Thank you Lex. I tried to keep it sweet and simple!

  5. Hayley

    Good tips, I used to be terrible at budgeting but I’m an expert now! You might like my recent post on how I escaped bankruptcy! http://lifeasabutterfly.com/how-i-went-from-verging-on-bankruptcy-to-being-in-credit-in-three-years-and-travel-was-to-blame/

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      What an inspiring read, thanks for sharing Hayley! I will be sure to follow more of you posts.

  6. Kim

    These are fabulous tips and something EVERYONE needs to do!!

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Glad I am not the only one who thinks this way Kim 😉

  7. Kari (Happy Coconuts Travel Blog)

    Good tips, reminds me I need to pay more attention and be more responsible!

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Thank you Kari, Let me know if you ever need some tips or advice to start out! Good Luck!!

  8. Lynn

    I will definitely be taking your advice. I really do need to start setting up a budget. This has been a serious downfall for me and caused me many great headaches uggg. I will be adding your Blog Site to my favorites and following your blogs because I am pretty certain they will come in handy. Thanks so much!

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Lynn,
      Thank you so much for such an inspiring comment. I am so happy I could help. Let me know if there is ever something you would like to see on the blog 🙂

  9. Sylvia @ Happiness is homemade

    Lots of great tips! I budget quite a lot myself, helps me with saving up 🙂

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Sylvia thanks for taking a moment to read the post! Let me know if you have any tips you use that I didn’t cover, or if there’s anything you want to see me post about.

  10. Ruxandra

    I don’t have a real budget 🙁 maybe this could help me!

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Hope it helps! Feel free to contact me at Kelley.aroura@gmail.com with any questions.

  11. Jill Wiley

    Our biggest budget tip is Happy Hour… we never go out to eat during prime hours… its ridiculous to pay 2-3x as much for food and up to 4x more for drinks!

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Oh yes! What a great tip Jill! Happy hours are a must. My family personally loves at home happy hours too 😉 Thanks for sharing.

  12. Emilee

    Love this tip! I always struggle with budgeting. Thanks for sharing!

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      You are welcome Emilee, glad you enjoyed it. I hope it helps you.

  13. Jenny

    This is such good information – budgeting is so important, it’s a skill we should all learn early!

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      and some of us learned it too late! (uh hum..me). it is a skill that is better taught early but when you are a bit older (late 20’s) you really start to grasp what budgeting can do and the things you can do with it. There are so many options.

  14. Janine Good

    Thanks for this! I hate budgeting! A grim reminder of the little money I have hahaha. Thanks for the tips though! they will really help!

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      That’s the secret! Everyone has to start somewhere, every dime helps, and once you start to see your progress you keep going. The point of the budget is to see exactly where your money is going.

  15. Sondra Barker

    I completely agree, taking small steps is so important and the most effective. Such a helpful post, thank you!

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Yes, too much change at one time can be overwhelming and cause you to impulse buy! Which is never a good thing when on a budget.

  16. Nina

    This is so very helpful for me. I’m about to move overseas and have to start a whole new budget. Thanks for this information. I will definitely usw it!

    Nina
    aworldofdresses.com

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Glad it helped you out! So exciting to be moving overseas. I wish you all the best on your new journey.

  17. Shelby Bromley

    Budgeting is a struggle for me. I like how you set yours up and explain it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed it. I like to keep things simple. If you ever have any questions let me know I’d love to help.

      <3 Kelley

  18. Holly

    I just wrote a post on budgeting. I use zero sum. Nice to see a different option.

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Glad you like the different options. I’d love to check yours out 🙂 find me on FB and share it with me! https://www.facebook.com/Kelley-Aroura-Life-With-Kelley-1717808581814330/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

      Hope to hear from you soon!
      Kelley

  19. Dash the Map

    Great tips! Budgeting can be hard, but once you get a routine down you will be fine.

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Ugh starting out was rough..I actually spent many hours on YouTube learning Excel! I would do it all again. The time it took is nothing compared to the money it saves me!

  20. Renata Medanovic

    Thank you for sharing tips. My husband and I never use credit cards with interest. If we use it, we have always cards that are interest free for 12-24 months, so we are save on that.

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      You are welcome, and that is a great tip for credit. Just be careful with that,some people have a hard time with credit cards in general and use them for everything then they cannot pay it off before interest starts building. When building credit the goal is to start with one or two lines of credit and make them grow by using them little by little over a long period of time. But getting the interest-free cards is definitely a plus!

      Thanks for sharing,
      Kelley

  21. candy

    Always had a budget how else do you save anything.

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      ohh… I still have a few tricks up my sleeve! Stay tuned for those 😉

  22. Kuleigh

    Great tips! Especially paying off those high interest loans.

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Ughh, they are THE worst!!

  23. Michelle C

    Thank you for sharing! My favorite part was about starting small. My husband has FINALLY decided we need to start sticking to a budget so we can save money. Our goal is to have enough money to move into our own home in three years. It’s GREAT that he has a timeline…but he wants to save $200 a month starting out. Uhm, maybe we could start a LITTLE smaller than that to start out…lol. Such a big number seems so overwhelming.

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      HAHAHA Michelle that is too funny. yes I suggest starting with one thing at a time. work on cutting back on one category of your budget at a time and see if you can work up to saving that much. 🙂 looks like you are on your way!

  24. andrea

    All of these tips are spot on! It is so important to start with a doable strategy so that you can be successful. I am going to share your post great info

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Thank you Andrea. I appreciate you sharing this 🙂

      Have a great weekend!

  25. Loren

    Love that you broke this down into simple steps! I’ll have to send friends here as your explanations and directions are so much easier than mine! Fantastic tips for anyone at any level of budgeting.

    1. kelley.aroura@gmail.com Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it Loren! Yes please share with friends 🙂

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