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A budget can help you prioritize your spending, manage your money, and start setting funds aside for the future.

3 Budgeting Best Practices

Find a method that works for you.

Base your budget income on your take-home pay.

Take savings seriously.

How to Create a Budget

A budget helps you gain control of your finances by knowing how much money you have coming in, how much you have going out, and how much you have leftover each month. It’s the best way to make sure you have enough money for the things you need and to reach both your financial and life goals.

The first step to every budget is to know your monthly net spendable income. This is your take-home pay after any taxes and/or automatic deductions.

The second step is to list your expenses. This includes:

  • Fixed expenses: Bills you pay every month that don’t change. Examples: your mortgage or rent, car payment, student loan, cable bill, cellphone, etc.
  • Variable expenses: Bills that fluctuate on a month-to-month basis, depending on how much of that item you’ve used. Examples: utilities, gas, food, credit-card payment, etc. This category includes unnecessary fees you can avoid, such as late fees, non-sufficient funds fees, payday lending charges, over-limit fees and annual credit card fees.

Start by pulling your bank statements for the past two months and go through each check or debit line by line.

Once you have accurate amounts for every dollar that comes in and out, it’s time to figure out whether you have a shortage or a surplus.

Take your total income and subtract your expenses.

If you find that you have a shortage and are spending more than you make, increase your income or cut your spending. If increasing your income isn’t an option, identify where you can cut your spending with expenses that may not be necessary.

Whether you have a shortage or a surplus, it’s important to re-evaluate your spending habits and look for ways to save. Dupaco’s free Money Makeover can help you identify opportunities where you can pay less and save more.

Tips for Successful Budgeting

Here are four tips that will help you succeed at creating and sticking to a budget.

Don’t make your budget so complicated that you don’t use it. You can download our budgeting worksheet below to help you get organized.

The key to successful budgeting is to find a way that works for you. The easier you feel it is to stick with, the more successful you will be.

Be realistic about what you spend each month otherwise your budget will not be accurate from the start and will be difficult to manage your spending.

The key to a successful budget is tracking. If you are spending money and not including it on your budget, your budget is no longer going to be an accurate tool for you to use.

Tips for Successful Saving

Anyone can be a successful saver. Even if you don’t have a lot of money to spare, these tips can help you get on the road to a better financial future.

YOU are as important as the utilities or your landlord. Make yourself a priority now by paying yourself first. Before you pay your bills or buy groceries, set aside a portion of your income to save. It will help you resist the temptation of skipping savings and help you stick to your budget by not spending money on other things. It’s OK to start small, even just $5 or $10 a week will help you save more and spend less.

Systematic savings tools like direct deposit and automatic transfers make it easier to treat saving money as a priority because they help you pay yourself first. Once you’ve figured out how much of your budget you can spare each month (even if it’s only a little), let automatic savings tools do the work for you.

When you’re saving for something specific, it helps to set money aside just for that purpose. Keeping it separate from your regular savings account will make it easier to protect money for specific goals. Dupaco offers savings accounts that you can dedicate to saving for specific purposes, including special holiday club savings accounts. We also offer Launchpad Savings to help you start saving for retirement, even if you aren’t ready to open an IRA.

Watch & Learn

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