How does one learn to budget themselves?

United States
December 30, 2006 1:55am CST
So, I've wondering how I can learn to budget myself. I go to school fulltime and work two jobs, but I never have any money! I put way too much onto credit cards each month, and then don't pay off the balance. Slowly, the bills are piling up. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to learn to budget, and I need all the help I can get. Does anyone have any advice? Perhaps you have a good website you could share. Maybe you know a good book I should read. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. How do I learn to budget?
1 person likes this
49 responses
• India
30 Dec 06
You can try noting down your expenses on a sheet of paper... eg., while starting your day you can note down how much money you've in your wallet, note down the balance remaining after your day ends. In case you are spending using your Credit card, keep the receipt with you. Now, if you can manage then check out at the end of the day what all expenses you did and for what purpose. This way at the end of the month you'll be having a summary of all ur expenses throughout the month and you can thus examine which expenses you could have done without. In this way you can start making a budget for yourself and you should be able to spend wisely! All The Best! :)
1 person likes this
@imnutz (288)
• United States
30 Dec 06
This is the way I did it and it helped. Everyday for a month I tracked what I spent on everything. From rent to bills to food, gas, etc. At the end of the month I looked at what I made and figured out where all my money was going. The longer the time period you can track this over the better it is going to be because of one time things like christmas, vacation, etc.
• United States
30 Dec 06
I've written all of my expenses down. I think my biggest obstacle right now is to try and remember to keep the receipts, and keep with in the money I've alotted for different things. Oh, and I wrote all my expenses down, but I don't know if I even make that much in a month. This is tough! Any recommendations for receipts? Good call on the examining what I can go with out part though, but it's going to be difficult!
@kylesmiles (1916)
• United States
30 Dec 06
Hey there. I consider myself really good with money! :) I have 3 savings accounts online and 2 of them are earning more than 5% interest and the other is earning almost 5% interest! :) I would love to help you further. First, find out which credit cards are charging the highest interst rates... Pay those off first! Or at least transfer the balances to your lowest interest credit card! Figure out what you are buying on your credit cards. Is there a way to curb those or at least cut them down or even off?? Try paying cash for everything. Really focus on paying off those credit cards! :) I wish you the best of luck!
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Dec 06
That's a great idea, but for some reason, I can't transfer my balances to any of my other credit cards. So, unfortunately that idea won't help me. It's a great idea though. Do you have any suggestions for department store credit cards?
• Pakistan
30 Dec 06
The same situaltion here,but a little different in a sense that half of the month i have plenty of money and the second half i am somewhat tight,coz i spend money without any prior plans...but thnk God i never had sufer a great deal so faaaarr!
@cjbart (20)
• United States
30 Dec 06
Good topic, especially for this time of year.We spend a lot of time coaching people in wealth-building. The first secret in accumulating money is a budget, but you must obviously be disciplined, and the first thing is out the door with credit Cards. In this country there is no reason to buy necessity on credit. Of course the definition of necessity is paramount. I work with College students from the next town and after careful analysis of what is needed, not what is wanted, they are able to survive very well,and of course continue to put minimum 10% away in the their Future Financial Account. One should never spend more than 50% ofcurrent Income on necessities. Interest is the DUMMY Tax. If one needs more money, it is so easy to obtain through effort. I carried never less than 20 solid units, paid for my college education with cash, had fun, and graduated with a business and money in my pocket. Only because I listened to those who knew how. I invested in myself first and everything else second. It is soooooooo easy with the proper mindset. Read Think & Grow Rich. As timely today as when published 70 years ago. Get a free copy. E-mail me or call 530-798-0245
• United States
30 Dec 06
I have started investing every month. I started that a long time ago. Now I need to learn how to get rid of my credit cards. I will email you for a copy. Thanks for the advice!
@Tip200 (17)
• United States
31 Dec 06
Think and Grow Rich is a great book classic. Rich Dad Poor Dad is good as well!
30 Dec 06
My friend taught me a trick to do with your credit card...you sew the card into the lining of a bag or your wallet, something you carry with you all the time, and then you're forced to think more about spending the money, whether it's on the internet or in a shop...and you'll end up only buying things you really need!
• United States
30 Dec 06
Sew it into the lining? So, then I don't have access? It's kind of like the freezing your money idea. It's a neat idea... How exactly does it work and how exactly did it work for you?
30 Dec 06
It works because you can't access it right away, so you have to think about spending the money, and if you really want whatever you're buying. And it worked for me because my friend told me she'd sewn it into the lining of my bag, and when I left the house, and tried to get it out, it wasn't there...
@dmanuel (411)
30 Dec 06
i always think hundred of times before buying something. i walk instead of using public transpostation (especially if the distance is average and im not realy in a hurry), i don't eat at restos (if i eat, ill make sure its a once a week thing), i buy multi purpose items (shoes bags and clothes), and i only buy "luxury" things if i have spare cash. i don't have a credit card, it's wise to not have one.
• India
30 Dec 06
quite true. Credit cards are a bait to put the person in debt.
• India
30 Dec 06
A credit card is the 'invitation card' which takes you to the debt hall. So, you're lucky my dear!
@Ashida (1370)
• United States
30 Dec 06
I know some people who make substantial incomes and still have no money. They don't have an earning problem, they have a spending problem. Write down what you earn. Write down what you spend. Cut back on what isn't necessary. it's amazing how much money goes into drink machines, snack machines, etc... it's a little at a time, but it adds up. try to find little ways each week to cut back on your spending. Then with all the money you've saved, treat your self to something every so often.
• United States
30 Dec 06
It's so true how much goes into snack machines and drink machines! I'm a Chai Tea Latte-aholic. That stuff adds up! Not to mention my sweet tooth, and Dt. Cherry Coke obsession! You're right though about the cut back on what's not necessary. That's what I'm going to try to do. I definitely need help with my spending problem, that's for sure! ;-) That's though. Keep the advice coming everyone, please!!
• Hong Kong
30 Dec 06
Yes,I am just this kind of person! I am still a student,but I have some kinds of income which should be enough for me. Unfortunately,I am always in debt. I think the main reason is that I don't know how to spend this money properly. Sometimes I ignore some little money and spend them without any plan. I think what you said give me a tip! I need to write down what I spend, and make a plan to use my money. Thanks for your comment on this issue! I think it will help many friends!
• United States
30 Dec 06
You already know how to budget. You pay your rent or house payment, your utilities, car payment, insurance etc...what you need to learn is to control impulse spending. After you have paid your monthyly living expenses what you have left can be considered disposable income. This is when the budget for so many no longer exists. Make lists and stick to them when shopping. Have a criteria, want it? Yep. What will it be used for? Don't know? Where will it be worn? No clue. Need it? Nope, yes, maybe. If the answer comes up maybe, don't buy it. Treat your credit cards like cash. Yep like cash. After all you are spending cash plus paying extra in interest fees. Make a new budget list. Your living expenses, a percentage for savings, and a percentage for disposable income, and lastly ready cash reserves. Settle on shopping days, don't just run to the store for something to do. It may take some will power but it can be done...impulse buying on credit will destroy that credit fast.
• United States
30 Dec 06
Wow. That is an awesome response! Thank you so much. That is what I need to figure out. I think I will start setting aside a certain day of the week for grocery stopping and try to cut out the un-necesarries. Will power. That's the hardest thing about it. I am an impulse buyer. I will definitely use your advice!
@Kelly16 (253)
• Philippines
30 Dec 06
To start with your budget you need to settle all your credit cards or else it will pile up and you'll find yourself working to pay for the interest of your debts. After settling it, then you can start savings and budgeting your finances List down all your expenses and review it, you will find out that there are expenses you can live without. Cut it off and put aside the money for savings. It worked for me, i have a separate notebook for all my expenses. Most people use this formula: Salary-Expenses=Savings But it could work this way Savings-Salary= Expenses If possible use cash and spend with in your budget and don't spend more than you could afford.
@Kelly16 (253)
• Philippines
30 Dec 06
Correction on the above formula Most people use this formula: Salary-Expenses=Savings But it could work this way Salary-Savings = Expenses
• Australia
30 Dec 06
Hi I used to always be in debt. Until I read 2 books. one "The Richest Man In Babylon" and the other was "The Storehouse Principle" both similar in content but life changing. Since then I have $5000 in the bank. I also have a co signer ( a deacon in my church) who signs on the savings acount so I don't just spend it on nothing
• United States
30 Dec 06
Awesome, thank you. I am definitely looking for some reading material on this. It's also a great idea for the savings account. Every time I get a little saved up, I tend to spend it! Thanks for the suggested reading, and the hint!
• Canada
30 Dec 06
How many credit cards do you have? That's the first thing you should think about. The more plastic you have, the worse your problems can be. The temptation to use them is quite strong when they're in your posession. Credit cards are an addiction: the more you have, the more you use them. Do yourself a big favour: Pay off your credit card bills, and cancel all cards except for one. That one you put away, and only use it for emergencies. My fiance and I are doing the same thing. We've cancelled 2 credit cards and have one card to pay off. Once that's done, we can focus on the sole card that we have. It's so easy to climb into debt, but harder to dig your way out of it. Spend wisely in the future. Also, as someone else suggested, write down how much you earn and what your expenses are. That's what we do. This is your budget for the month. If you stick to your budget for the month, treat yourself to one special item. This will be your reward for sticking to your budget and proving to yourself that it is possible to do this. In time you will see the difference.
• United States
30 Dec 06
I have way too many credit cards. How did you start weening yourself off? Some of my balances are so high, that it will take a really long time to pay them off. Especially having to break up how much I can pay between them all. I always pay more than the minimum, but it's still hard to get rid of them. How did you start getting rid of them? It's so true that it's hard to get out of debt! I'm already in massive amounts of debt, and I'm only a student. How did you start exercising the self control it took to treat yourself to only one thing a month?
@nyka08 (411)
• Philippines
30 Dec 06
in your case, you should pay your bills on time. and i suggest that you lay down with using your credit card. it is easier for us to spend more if you have a credit card at hand. i suggest that you try prioritize what you need. try to spend on things that are important and more practical.
@lulylove (1561)
• Brazil
30 Dec 06
I think as you. Therefore the interests of the credit card are very high. I believe that to place the things in priority it goes to diminish the problem. Not to spend money with uselessness would be another one to not make.
@serenetee (380)
• Singapore
31 Dec 06
You have to pay off the credit card bills as soon as possible or you have to end up paying more and more for interest. Carry as little cash in your wallet as possible such that it's only enough to pay for the essentials for each day. Keep your credit card in a safe box or with someone you can trust or simply cancel it. I prefer to use cash so that I can see easily if I've over-spent. Do away with ATM card and instead visit the bank office to withdraw a one-time allowance from part of your salary each month. Give yourself this inconvenience so that you can control your cash withdrawal.You'll find that you won't overspend and can actually save some for rainy days.
@toonatoons (3740)
• Philippines
31 Dec 06
you yourself have identified your weakness --- you spend too much on credit cards and do not pay them off when they become due. this is a huge mistake, my friend. credit card companies will charge you much for your unpaid balance. here are some friendly tips: 1) before you buy things, ask yourself, "do i really need to buy this?" if you can live without it, put it off for a while. 2) do forced savings --- put away a certain amount, say 10% of your earnings, before you start deducting your expenses. this will force you to save. 3) using credit cards is not at all bad --- but you must learn how to use them wisely. this means paying your dues on time, not a day late. using credit cards earn you rewards points that you may redeem later, so don't put them to waste by paying for additional charges you don't deserve. good luck and happy new year!
@natuser28 (907)
• United States
31 Dec 06
Don't waste any money on books. (expect for millionaire next door). First thing like everyone else on this board been saying is pay yourself first. I know if tough trying to get by with little in no return but u will never get out of your situation if u don't put money away for a rainy day.
@dominican (202)
• Philippines
31 Dec 06
The basics that my mom taught me in budgeting. Make lists of things that you would like to buy, things that you need so that in the end you would'nt end up short. But the best thing she taught me was this "Do not spend more than what you can earn". You just have to deal with what you have and make the most of it and make sure you still have extras.
• India
31 Dec 06
for al those who go 2 coll or school or neother institutions and find no time for makin money....there is an institution called #-biz from which u can make money....to know more bout dis contact me....
@KrauseHome (33259)
• United States
31 Dec 06
Budgeting is a hard thing to learn, but one that can actually be quite rewarding if you really take the time to learn to do it. There are a lot of people like maybe your Bank, etc. that specialize in helping people set up a Budget and how they can stick with them, and stay within their means. Sometimes for some, it is consolidating some of the Bills you have into one, and then Cutting up the remaining Credit cards, etc. But it is up to you how far you want to go with this, but I wish you Luck.
@jasmin19 (220)
• India
31 Dec 06
First of all find the sources of money, than find any one or two jobs which give u more money,and they are convenience for you. Than list out your monthly needs,than set them as priority wise.Find your needs at low price and good quality,this will help you to save money.
• India
31 Dec 06
by making future assumptions n thinking of the ones better