As we leave the days when all of our expenses were payed by our parents or guardians, it is important to be conscious of how we handle our finances in the real world. This may be a new concept for many of us; I know some people that are good about monitoring their spending habits, but I am acquainted with many more people who view any money that they earn is money that can and should be spent right away. When you tend to spend carelessly or impulsively, you will often find yourself lacking the funds needed for better or more important things. Even moderate spending tendencies can be problematic when done without a consciousness of how much money is coming into and going out of your hands regularly. In it’s simplest form, budgeting is being aware of your income and planning your expenditure accordingly. Simply put: know how much you make, and figure out how to spend wisely so that you can save money. Many budgeting plans are available online and in books, but here I will give you a few easy rules to get you started on making your money last.
The first rule is the simplest, but can be the most difficult to abide by: spend less than you make! Planning ahead of time is the best way to go about doing this. First, pick a span of time that you will base your budget on. You can do it by week, by paycheck, by month, or however long seems best to you. Next, make a list of all of the things that you will definitely need to spend on in that length of time. Finally, calculate how much your necessities will cost, how much you have left over, and how much you want to spend on entertainment while putting the rest away for savings.
Part of the first rule is determining what is a necessity and what is not. This brings us to the second rule: prioritize! Movies, restaurants, and amusement parks are extras, not necessities. Things like bills, groceries, and gas are necessary.These should be the first things taken into account when budgeting, and entertainment should come second. When determining how much to spend on entertainment, be sure to allot enough to save.
The third and final rule is to stick to your budget! Falling back into your old habits of buying whatever you like is tempting, but don’t backslide into careless spending. Halfhearted budgeting is not effective; you need to make a strong effort and be determined to make your money last. You will soon see the positive results of creating a budget.