How to Create a Personalized Monthly Budget Planner

Creating a personalized monthly budget planner is smart. You can create one from scratch using a budget software in Excel or you can write it down in a notebook. Here's how to create a personalized budget, no matter how you choose to create it:

List Your Income Sources

If you're using a word processor or your notebook to create a monthly budget planner, start by listing your income categories. Write down every source of income you receive, whether or not  you earn it monthly. For example, if you receive a dividend payment once a year, write that down. If you sell books on Amazon or auction items on eBay every once in while, look at your past sales history and come up with an average earned per month. Include your salary, rent (if you're a landlord) and other predictable income as well.

List Expenses You Already Have

After your income categories, write down your expenses. Start by looking at your online bank statements for the last 90 days. Some expenses are fixed, which means that you'll pay the same each month. You'll have to average a monthly cost based on other expenses, and 180 days is a good span of time to base your averages on. Collect information from utility and other bills. For example, if you buy eggs from your neighbor weekly, don't forget to include that and other miscellaneous expenses that won't show up on bank statements or bills. Total all of your income.

This is also a great time to eliminate expenses. Review your list of monthly expenses and determine which to keep and what to get rid of. Distinguish between what you need, and what you want. Do you need a monthly movie rental subscription, when you don't have an emergency fund? Ask honest questions, and see how you can live frugal with the money you make.

List Expenses You Should Have

There are some expenses that you don't have at the time of creating your monthly budget planner, but you must have in order to protect yourself. These include savings for an emergency fund, renters or homeowners insurance, auto insurance and emergency preparedness food and supplies. Each of these are necessary to protect yourself when disaster strikes. For example, if there's an earthquake and emergency responders can't get to you for days, you'll have food, water and medical supplies set aside for yourself, your family and  neighbors. If there's a fire, you'll have renters insurance to replace your electronics and other personal belongings. Get quotes and research prices for each the expenses you should have, and include those amounts in the budget. Total all of your expenses.

Allocate Extra Money to Pay Down Debt

Subtract your total income from your total expenses. Make any adjustments to the expenses category if you end up with a negative number. If you have any money left over, go back and add the expense line "Pay off Debt" under your expenses, and include the number you had left over. 

A budget doesn't have to be static. Your monthly budget planner will change as your circumstances change, which should encourage you to get started sooner rather than later.

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