Believe it or not, budgeting isn’t about cutting back. A budget is a road map for your financial state, a way to keep track of all the comings and goings of your funds.

A budget will tell you well it’s okay to spend more, or when you need to cut back. But there is nothing restrictive about the budget itself.

Budgeting is a tool, and using it properly can make your finances stronger.

How do you get started?

The Beginning Budget

Since the budget is a “plan for your money” the first step is writing everything down. Every dollar coming in, and every dollar going out. Once you have a complete picture in front of you, it will be easier to see how you can make adjustments.

Of course, many of us don’t know every where the money goes until after it’s gone. To craft a budget for the future, you will need to do a little estimating.

Write down your best estimate of how much will be coming in. Not everyone is on salary, and if your hours change from week to week, you may have to rely on your educated guess.

The same goes with bills – you don’t know exactly how much the utility bill might be next month. But based on the last few months, and the same month last year, you can get a good idea of what it will be.

Does all of this sound a little complicated? That’s okay, it is complicated, and so there are many tools and worksheets you can you for your budgeting.

Budgeting Tools

Writing down all of your finances doesn’t need involve actual pen-and-paper writing. There are a number of great apps to keep track of everything on your phone or tablet.

Nerd Wallet provided a list of the best and most up-to-date tools you can download to help you plan your budget.

Words of Wisdom

Once you have finished your budget, you can use it to improve your financial situation. You can clearly see where you spend too much, or how you can save more.

A budget doesn’t solve your problems, but it helps you to solve them yourself!

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