Do you ever find yourself running out of money before you run out of month?  It happens.  Whether it's the result of unexpected expenses, inconsistent income flow, or simply overspending, a well planned budget can help you get back on track.

  1. Total your earnings.
    Calculate how much money you expect to make this month after taxes but only include income sources that you know you can depend on.


  2. Calculate your monthly expenses.
    This list should include all of your regular monthly expenses, including any money that you spend on fun things like eating out, hobbies, and any minimum payment s that you have to make toward your credit card. 

    Monthly Expenses: ____________________

  3. Subtract monthly expenses from earnings.
    This is the amount you can expect to have left after covering all your regular monthly expenses.

    Monthly Surplus/Deficit:_________________

  4. Subtract extra expenses.
    Review your plans for the upcoming month - scheduled car repairs, medical or dental bills, gifts, trips, parties.  Subtract your extra expenses from Step 3.

    Remaining Money:___________________

  5. Build in a cushion.
    Look at how much is left after covering your anticipated expense and decide if what remains is enough cushion against unexpected expenses.  A good rule-of-thumb is a 10% margin for unexpected expenses.


  6. Rework your budget.
    If your budget comes out on a negative or deficit, review your monthly expenses again and look for areas to cut.  Keep at it until your budget works.

  7. Invest in yourself.
    Use any remaining cash to pay down debts or to build up savings and investments.

Use a computer to create your budget.  By automating your budget you can quickly and easily review and track your monthly income and expenses.

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