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Budgeting Tips

Last Modified: 10/26/2020

Ever wonder where all your money goes each month? Creating a budget is one way to help find your extra dollars. A budget is simply a plan to spend and save your money each month. Setting goals and sticking to them is a great way to be able to make sure your bills are paid on time.

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GET STARTED

Getting started can be the hardest part, especially if your finances feel out of control.  You can use tools provided to you by a HUD approved housing counselor at CLSMF or research how to create a budget at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

Where does your money come from?

Record all of your income, including things like your paychecks, social security benefit letter, and child support information. Be sure to include the amount before taxes or any deductions and how often you receive the income. You will need to calculate both your gross (before any deductions) and your net (after deductions – your bring home pay). This amount will be the starting point of your budget.

This online income tracking tool can help.

Where does my money go?

It is important to know where all of your money goes each month. Tracking your spending for every penny that leaves your household is a great way to gain a better understanding of where it all went. Keeping a log of your spending will help you track your spending.

Here is a template that might be helpful for you.

Start with small goals, like tracking or logging your spending for 1 day and then for a week. Once you are ready, you should track your expenses for 30-60-90 days to help determine a pattern, or to begin to make changes before you spend.

What are all my bills and when are they due?

If you are coming up short each month when trying to pay your bills, the problem could be that the timing of your bills and income don’t match up. Use this calendar template to record both your due dates and when income is received. 

Create your working budget!

Now that you know when and how much your income is and you have started tracking your spending and when your bills are due, you can use this budget worksheet to pull it all together. 

WHAT ELSE TO CONSIDER?

Creating a budget will help you figure out if you have enough money to cover your expenses, while also being able to save money. Your budget is a work in progress and will need to be updated as your income or expenses change.

Stick to it!

Create a budget that works for not only you, but for your entire household. Changing your money habits doesn’t happen overnight but sticking to it will help you be successful.

A CLSMF Housing Counselor can assist you with budget counseling by helping you track your spending, find your leaks, setting both short and long-term goals, and creating a realistic budget you can stick to.   

Next Steps

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