1. Make copies of the attached form so you have a blank one to use for each month.
2. For the first month, keep track of all your cash expenses – the $1’s, $5’s, etc. You have a record in your checkbook of the expenses you made by check, you now need to know what you spend in cash.
3. After you do the above for a month you are now ready to put your estimated expenses on the form. The percentages shown are just a guide to help show what a typical family would spend. There are some that would depend on the size of the family, such as food. You may have to adjust the percentages based on your family and circumstances.
4. The asterisks next to the first column are for those items – like car insurance – that you do not spend every month, but you must budget for them and set the money aside so that when they do come due, you will have the money for them.
5. For the items you pay cash, you can make out an envelope with the name on the front and then put the cash in it so it is available when it is time to pay that month. For example you may budget – to eat out for the month (Recreation). You set aside the cash in an envelope so it is available for when you decide to eat out.
6. After you put in the first month’s budget, again keep track of all cash expenditures along with your checks and then at the end of the month put in the actual expenses next to what you budgeted to see how you did. You may need to adjust your budget for the next month accordingly.
7. The advantage of the budget will soon be seen in that it will show you where your dollars are going and where you need to cut back if you are spending out more than you are taking in. Once you have cut back as much as you can and you still are running behind, you will have to look at your income and see what you can do to increase that.
You now have the tools you need to make a budget. I encourage you to discipline yourself enough to make it happen. If married, husband and wife must work together to make it happen. It can actually be fun to discover that there is a solution to financial stress. A budget can be the tool to help you achieve financial freedom.
If you are interested in having a computer program to help you with the budgeting process there is one available from Crown Financial Ministries. Call 1-800-722-1976.