Knowing what you can afford can keep you out of trouble. Be aware of how you are spending your money.
The best way to create a budget is to just make one. Gather your most recent paystubs and monthly bills. Use pencil, paper, and a calculator or find a free computer program or spreadsheet that works for you.
Determine your income and the amount that needs to be paid out each month.
At the beginning, sticking to a budget will be rough. Know that it will get better with time and practice. Stay motivated by making and meeting simple goals, like cooking a meal at home instead of eating out.
Think of your finances as a whole. If you spend money in one area, you won’t have it to spend in another.
Some expenses have set amounts
- Rent/Mortgage, utilities
- Car payment, car insurance, gasoline
- Health insurance
Determine your priorities
You have choices on where and how you spend other money.
- Monthly mobile/cell telephone bill
- Daily cup of coffee
Look for ways to increase your income or trim your budget
- Get a roommate
- Get a part-time job
- Set your thermostat lower
- Do a Home Energy Check through Progress Energy
- Buy a used car instead of a new car
- Make sure tires are inflated properly
- Get regularly scheduled maintenance on your car
- Eat at home instead of a restaurant
- Make your own lunches
- Clear out a storage unit and have a yard sale
- Eliminate or lower cable or cell phone packages
- Cancel unused memberships
- Rent books/movies/video games from the library
- Use a shopping list and coupons. Buy in bulk
- Avoid impulse purchases
Tips on Saving Money
- Put a percentage of your paycheck directly into a savings account
- Have retirement contributions withheld from your paycheck
- Plan for major purchases before it becomes an emergency
- Plan for emergencies – they will always happen
- Keep good financial records
- Live like a student now, so you don't have to live like a student when you graduate
- Pay cash – it hurts when it leaves your pocket!
- Borrow only if you need to
- Borrow only the amount you absolutely need
- Compare rates and fees
- Know the repayment terms – will you be charged for early repayment?
- Know what will happen if you are having trouble with repayment
- Know what will happen if you do not repay
faTV – Saving and Borrowing Money
faTV – Tips on Saving Money