Jan 24, 2024 Value Broking 7 Mins 1.3K

Nowadays, people are confused about how to make a monthly budget, Even if few individuals would say they genuinely love budgeting, the work is nonetheless crucial. Making a budget aids in planning for costs and can reveal information about your spending patterns, enabling you to cut back on unnecessary spending more easily.

Due to the high inflation rate, many people may struggle to pay their monthly bills while attempting to save money. Establishing a budget may help you get by and reduce some of the stress of paying for impending bills, even while it won’t completely beat inflation.

Here are some suggestions if you want to create your first monthly budget or update your current one.

What is a Monthly Budget?

A monthly budget is a strategy for your monthly financial spending. Many recurrent costs, such as rent, electricity, credit card payments, and other loan obligations, happen monthly, making monthly budgeting common.

Your budget should ideally entail spending less each month than your income, leaving you with extra cash to save. Budgeting for more than your monthly income necessitates using up savings or taking out loans to cover expenses.

Instead of relying on luck to pay for emergencies or necessary needs, a budget should simplify preparing for spending in advance. Budgets also help you become more aware of how you spend your money, making it simpler to prioritize spending on the things that are most important to you and reduce spending on less important items.

Why is Budgeting Important?

Having a budget promotes financial stability. A budget makes it simpler to save for large purchases like a house or vehicle, develop an emergency fund, and pay bills on time by keeping track of spending according to a plan. In general, having a budget strengthens one’s financial position throughout the long run as well as the short term.

  • Financial Discipline: Budgeting instills discipline by tracking expenses, ensuring money is allocated wisely, preventing overspending, and promoting responsible financial habits.
  • Goal Achievement: It helps in achieving short and long-term financial goals by directing funds towards specific targets, whether it’s saving for a house, retirement, or an emergency fund.
  • Debt Management: Allows for the allocation of funds towards paying off debts strategically, reducing interest payments, and eventually becoming debt-free.
  • Financial Awareness: Provides a clear overview of income, expenses, and spending patterns, enabling individuals to understand their financial health and make informed decisions.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Establishing a budget helps in creating an emergency fund, providing a financial safety net during unexpected situations like job loss or medical emergencies.
  • Stress Reduction: A well-planned budget reduces financial stress, offering peace of mind and enhancing overall well-being by knowing there’s a plan in place to manage expenses and save for the future.

How to Prepare a Monthly Budget?

  • Determine your monthly salary.

Identifying your monthly income is the first step in creating a budget for the month. This will establish your monthly spending (and saving) cap.

Consider stable sources of revenue when determining your monthly income. Your regular salary from your day’s work should be included, but you should leave out less reliable income streams like selling used items you no longer need.

  • For a month or two, keep a record of your spending.

Tracking your actual spending over a few months is one of the greatest ways to get a feel of how much you should budget. Some programs allow you to link your bank account to track your spending, or you may track it manually by storing receipts and tallying your costs.

You can discover as you keep track of your expenditures that you spend more or less than you anticipated on several categories. This is significant because it provides a strong transition into the following process stage.

Don’t forget to account for costs that can happen annually rather than regularly. 

  • Consider your monetary priorities

It’s time to sit down and examine your spending history and how it relates to your financial priorities once you’ve taken the time to log your expenditure.

Everyone must pay rent, food, and bills they cannot avoid. However, if you don’t attempt to monitor your spending, it’s simple to spend far more than you intend on unnecessary items. You could discover, for instance, that you often spend hundreds of dollars on takeaway or have a number of monthly subscriptions you hardly ever use.

Setting up a budget doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your money on necessities. Instead, you should allocate your funds according to your best interests. 

  • Design your Budget

List line items for each area of expenditure when creating a budget, and prioritize savings for unexpected expenses, large purchases, or down payments. Spend what is left over after saving by following Warren Buffett’s suggestion. Analyze your expenditure patterns and make sure they support your objectives. According to the 50/30/20 budget guideline, you should set aside 20% of your salary for savings and 30% of your income for desires. You decide how much money to spend in each of these areas. Although there are no hard and fast rules for budgeting, it is imperative to spend less each month than you make. Making an effort to save as much money as possible is a wise financial practice.

  • Keep tabs on your expenditures and adjust your budget as necessary.

Budgets are dynamic financial plans. They are not unchangeable. After creating your budget, you should keep track of your expenditures and stick to it.

However, you can discover that your priorities and circumstances change with time. For instance, you can get a salary rise that provides greater spending freedom, or you might take out a new debt you must pay back. Examine your budget and how well you adhere to it every six months or at least once a year by sitting down. You can update your budget to consider changes in your spending patterns and income.

  • Monitor your expenditure and make any adjustments to your budget.

A budget is a dynamic document. They are not inflexible. Keep track of your expenditures after creating your budget and stick to it.

Your priorities and circumstances could change, though, as time goes on. For instance, you may obtain a new loan that you must repay or receive a salary increase that offers you more discretionary income. Examine your budget and how well you adhere to it by sitting down every six months or at least once a year. You may adjust your budget to reflect income and spending patterns changes.

Example of Budgeting

An example of a monthly budget for an individual in India with a net income of 30,000 Indian Rupees (INR) per month:

CategoryLine itemAmount per month (INR)
SavingsEmergency fund2,000
Vacation fund500
Retirement1,000
Total3,500
NeedsRent8,000
Transportation1,500
Electricity1,000
Gas/oil500
Phone500
Internet800
Groceries3,000
Personal care/hygiene500
Credit card1,200
Total16,000
WantsStreaming subscriptions300
Dining out/ food delivery1,000
Apparel500
Nightlife200
Movies/theater300
Gifts500
Miscellaneous spending700
Total3,500
Total for all categories23,000

In this example, the individual’s net income is 30,000 INR per month. The budget allocates 3,500 INR for savings, 16,000 INR for essential needs, and 3,500 INR for wants or nonessentials. The total budget comes to 23,000 INR, leaving a surplus of 7,000 INR that can be used for additional savings, debt repayment, or other financial goals. Remember, this is just a general example, and individual circumstances may vary.

Conclusion

The significance of monitoring where your money goes is more apparent than ever when prices rise. Setting up a budget is a good approach to monitoring your spending, understanding your spending patterns, and encouraging saving.

Track your expenditures for a month before making a monthly budget, noting required expenses, extra expenses, and areas where you have space to cut costs. The objective is to spend less than you earn by comparing your costs to your available income. Consider creating your budget using a budgeting tool or calculator to assist you in saving time and labor-intensive tasks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

According to the 50-30-20 budget guideline, 50% of income should go towards needs (like rent), 30% should go towards discretionary expenses (like entertainment), and 20% should go towards debt repayment or savings in order to maintain financial stability.

A comprehensive monthly budget includes income, fixed expenses (e.g., rent, utilities), variable expenses (e.g., groceries, entertainment), savings, and any debt repayments.

Consider using budgeting apps, spreadsheets, or even pen-and-paper methods to record and categorize your expenses. Reviewing your spending regularly helps in stay on track.

If expenses exceed income, it’s crucial to reevaluate your budget. Look for areas to cut costs or consider finding additional sources of income to achieve a balanced budget.