Don't Like Budgets? Here Is A Simple, Quick-Start Budget Procedure

Don’t Like Budgets? Here Is A Simple, Quick-Start Budget Procedure

As debt levels remain high, many folks want to take control of their finances. Some made, and then broke New Year’s resolutions, as usual, believing this to be normal. And it is, for folks who do not turn resolutions to goals with actionable plans.

Today, if you want to work on your finances, don’t make a resolution, just start working. For many, this is a big challenge. Where do you start? You read and heard so much about budgets. You don’t realize a budget merely is your best estimate of the cost of doing specific future goals in a specific period. For example, next month, you will pay rent, buy groceries, probably buy a few shirts, give funds to God; right? Today, you can look at how you might allocate next month’s available funds for those and other activities. Here is a simple, first few steps to start now:

  • Get seven three by five cards and seven envelopes, one for each card.

  • On the top right corner of a card, write your gross income and this note: This income belongs to God; He will tell me how much to keep in His Kingdom. Pray and ask Him to show you this amount. On the front of a corresponding envelope, write “INCOME.”

  • Calculate the amount to spend by taking away from gross income, amount to give to God, taxes, and other deductions.

  • Write the amount available to spend in the centre of this card and circle it. If gross income is $3,000, giving to God $400, taxes $1,000, then $1600 is available to spend. Write $1,600 on the front of the INCOME envelope.

  • On each of the remaining six cards and envelopes, write one of these categories: Taxes and deductions, food, clothing, transport, shelter, and other. Use your best estimate to calculate and allocate amounts to each category: say, taxes $1,000, food $400, clothing $100, transport $200, shelter $700, other $200).

  • Apart from taxes, which your employer will deduct, take cash for amounts identified and place in each envelope. If you prefer not to use cash, ensure you pay your credit card balance in full monthly. Still, when you spend, write details on the relevant card. Each card should show starting budget, say, $400, and each time you spend, you reduce the balance, and record the new balance. And most of all, stop spending when the balance is zero. Next month, resume the procedure by adding the month’s budget.

  • Before spending, ensure you have a procedure to help decide if you should spend. If your debt will increase, don’t spend. Don’t? Yes, imagine you have used-up available credit, then what do you do? Ask God to guide you.

This is not a complete budgeting procedure, merely a start. Feel free to choose other budget categories. To become comfortable with the procedure, you could start with two items and add one monthly.

Copyright (c) 2011, Michel A. Bell

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