Get ready to start putting your money to work for you when you track yo money!

We are going to put together a very basic monthly budget. You should have your past three months of paychecks and bank/credit statements handy. If not, you can pull them up online. 

First, add up all of your income sources. If your income is variable, figure out your average and round down. It’s best to underestimate your income. 

Second, go through your bank and credit card statements and determine your fixed and variable expenses. If you don’t know the difference, fixed is any bill you pay the same amount every month while variable can fluctuate. Now, determine your average monthly expenses. Here you will want to round up.

Third, take your average monthly income and subtract your average monthly expenses. Do you have a surplus or deficit? The goal is to get to eventually get to zero after expenses, debt payments, and savings. 

 If you have a surplus, you will need to determine where you want that money to go. Will you make extra credit card payments or save more? If you are negative, review and evaluate your expenses. Are there any obvious areas you can cut? I say cut, not eliminate, because budgets often fail when we jump too far in one direction. As you go over where your money has gone, do you see any subscriptions you don’t use anymore? Cancel those first. Cut one meal out per week or month. 

Now we will write out a very basic monthly budget to start using. Be sure to grab your monthly budget pdf here. You will put in the month and then fill out what you think you will spend for your fixed and variable expenses, any credit card payments, and anything you are able to save. When you end the month, you will fill in what you actually paid in each category and then see if you were over and under. 

When you start your budget for the next month, review the previous month. Where did you overspend? Do you need to budget more there for this month and reduce spending in another area? You will review and update your budget each month. Budgets are not a static thing. They are always changing. 

Your homework before the next blog is to start tracking your spending. Each day, set aside time to write down what you have spent that day or the previous day if you do this first thing. Write down what you bought, where, and how much. You can use a notebook, or spreadsheet, or grab my pdf here.

How does your basic budget look? Are you ready to tackle next month?

Grab your budget sheets .

Categories: Planning


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.