Financial Literacy-Creating a Budget

Creating a Budget

Gather all financial statements that you have.

Bank statements, all bills (utility, rent or mortgage, credit cards, store cards, insurance
invoices…)

Track all monthly expenses.

  • Groceries
  • Transportation costs (The T or gas)
  • Meals outside the home
  • Clothing Costs (new clothes, dry cleaning)

Record all sources of income.

Pay stubs, interest from bank accounts or investments

List monthly expenses

Put into categories; such as:

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Insurance Payments Due
  • Any taxes due (such as sewer and water or real estate)
  • Utilities
  • Credit cards
  • Store cards
  • Expenses such as; gasoline or transportation, lunches, groceries, miscellaneous
    items such as dinners outside the home or memberships, weekly religious donations, children’s clubs and sports.

Separate all expenses into “fixed” or “variable”.

Total all your income and expenses.

Make adjustments based on the results.

Pay yourself each month.

Into a Savings account or some type of Interest-bearing account

Review it every month and adjust as necessary.

Here is a sample budget available for download as an Excel document or a .PDF.


Assisting in the Formula

Keep a spending diary, putting receipts for each day’s various expenses such as, coffee, lunch, snacking, gas or the T, newspapers, cigarettes…

P: Postpone Expenses

Put off what you can during a recession; such as a car purchase or an expensive vacation.

E: Eliminate

Get rid of expenses such as gym memberships that you don’t use, cut back on your cable expenses like HBO, Showtime, etc.

R: Reduce

Clip coupons, go out to eat less often.

K: Keep

Make certain that you know what you must keep in your budget and then make adjustments with everything else.


Tips: (Article from Money and Finance)

Shop Smart

Buy things you need, not just things that are cheap.

Shop Generic brands

Save for a rainy day

Use gift cards for treats

If you go to places like Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, get gift cards for a specified amount each month and stick with your budget. Remember, if you get two Medium Regular Coffees at D & D each business day you are spending $75.00 per month on coffee alone …$900 for the year.

Competition is your advantage

Compare for items like cable and internet service for the best deal

Clip Coupons

Negotiate

You can negotiate a better deal with credit card companies and cable services among others…

Recycle

Budget for fun

Set aside money for an evening out and other fun family things like bowling, movies or miniature golf…


Web Sites that Can Help

www.annualcreditreport.com

www.mint.com

www.moneycentral.msn.com

www.moneyinstructor.com

www.universityco.org

finance.yahoo.com

www.financialplan.about.com

GOVERNMENT SITES:

www.fdic.gov/consumers/moneysmart/

www.mymoney.gov


Tips to Increase Savings

  1. Save or invest automatically with a bank or employer retirement plan.
  2. Deposit your check directly into a Savings account.
  3. Limit yourself to one ATM withdrawal per week.
  4. Buy yourself a storage bin or get a shoe box to put your ATM, Charge Card or Grocery slips in.
  5. Toss spare change into a jar.
  6. Each time you resist buying a Latte or going to a movie put that money into that jar.
  7. Once you finish paying off a bill, keep putting that money aside as if you were still paying it.

Improve Your Credit Score

  1. Pay down your debt (in order):
    • Credit cards
    • Consumer Loans
    • Car Loans
    • Student Loans
    • Mortgage
  2. Avoid late payments.
  3. Use cards lightly.
  4. If you have enough credit, do not apply for more.
  5. Stay away from “too-good-to-be-true” offers.

Balancing Your Checkbook

What you need:

Bank Statement Ending Balance
List of any Deposits not on Bank Statement
List any ATM’s or Checks not on Bank Statement
Any Bank-related Fees (ATM, Overdrawn or Check Fees)
Your own Checkbook Balance

Formula:

Bank Statement Ending Balance
+ Deposits not listed
- Checks or ATM’s not listed
- Bank Fees not Recorded in Your Checkbook

= Ending Balance in Your Checkbook

  1. You start by taking the ending balance on your bank statement or your on-line statement at the time you are balancing your checkbook.
  2. Add any deposits that you have made that are not listed on your statement or you cannot see them in the on-line detail.
  3. Subtract any ATM withdrawals or any checks that have not hit your bank account, the statement or the on-line detail.
  4. Subtract any bank fees (such as ATM usage fees, check fees or overdrawn account fees) that show on your statement, either on-line or on hard copy.
    Compare that number to the number you have as your checkbook balance. They should be equal. If not, look for items that show in one location but not the other. These items should account for any differences.
  5. Do this once every month.