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Why Create a Budget?

Budgeting Helps You:

  • Prioritize how money is spent.
  • Discover areas of waste.
  • Plan for unexpected expenses.
  • Save for your family's future.
  • Reduce money-related stress.

Creating and following a budget is essential to financial security. Though many powerful tools are available to help you manage money, a pencil and paper will suffice. Let's get started!

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Why Create a Budget

Budgeting Helps You:

  • Prioritize how money is spent.
  • Discover areas of waste.
  • Plan for unexpected expenses.
  • Save for your family's future.
  • Reduce money-related stress.

Creating and following a budget is essential to financial security. Though many powerful tools are available to help you manage money, a pencil and paper will suffice. Let's get started!

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Military Spouses - Financial Planning - Measure Progress

Create a Budget 101

Know Your Current Situation

 

If you’re not already there, it’s time to get up close and personal with your cash inflows and outflows. Track everything coming in and going out, so you’ll have a solid grip on what needs to change. Notice the additional resources in our sidebar.

For inflows, pay attention to more than just your paycheck. Gifts, tax refunds, rebates, proceeds from selling stuff – if it is money coming in, it all counts.

For outflows, the same thinking applies. Out-of-the-ordinary expenses like gifts or new tires for your car need to be accounted for just like recurring outflows. Watch, "Budgeting Step 1: Know Your Current Situation," to learn more.

 

Know Where Your Money Should Go

 

Every situation is different but there are some great budgeting rules that can help you get on the right path. For example, saving and investing should generally be 10-15% of pre-tax pay. Taxes will often take up another 20%. Vehicle expenses should be limited to no more than 10%. Housing should generally be no more than 20-25%. Watch, "Budgeting Step 2: Know Where Your Money Should Go," to learn more.

 

Create a Plan

 

Now that you know what your situation really looks like and what you should be doing with your money, it’s time to put the two together and make a plan.

Funding your goals should come first, and when it comes to cutting back, no expense category should be off the table.

Just be careful not to cut so much that you won’t be able to sustain your plan over the long term. Watch, "Budgeting Step 3: Create a Plan," to learn more.

 

Make Adjustments

 

As your life changes, so should your budget in many cases. Be alert for coming changes to both inflows and outflows so you can make adjustments sooner, rather than later.

A good plan will require frequent adjustments to make sure it evolves with your life. Watch, "Budgeting Step 4: Make Adjustments," to learn more.

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Military Spouses - Financial Planning - Measure Progress

Create a Budget 101

Know Your Current Situation

 

If you’re not already there, it’s time to get up close and personal with your cash inflows and outflows. Track everything coming in and going out, so you’ll have a solid grip on what needs to change. Notice the additional resources in our sidebar.

For inflows, pay attention to more than just your paycheck. Gifts, tax refunds, rebates, proceeds from selling stuff – if it is money coming in, it all counts.

For outflows, the same thinking applies. Out-of-the-ordinary expenses like gifts or new tires for your car need to be accounted for just like recurring outflows. Watch, "Budgeting Step 1: Know Your Current Situation," to learn more.

 

Know Where Your Money Should Go

 

Every situation is different but there are some great budgeting rules that can help you get on the right path. For example, saving and investing should generally be 10-15% of pre-tax pay. Taxes will often take up another 20%. Vehicle expenses should be limited to no more than 10%. Housing should generally be no more than 20-25%. Watch, "Budgeting Step 2: Know Where Your Money Should Go," to learn more.

 

Create a Plan

 

Now that you know what your situation really looks like and what you should be doing with your money, it’s time to put the two together and make a plan.

Funding your goals should come first, and when it comes to cutting back, no expense category should be off the table.

Just be careful not to cut so much that you won’t be able to sustain your plan over the long term. Watch, "Budgeting Step 3: Create a Plan," to learn more.

 

Make Adjustments

 

As your life changes, so should your budget in many cases. Be alert for coming changes to both inflows and outflows so you can make adjustments sooner, rather than later.

A good plan will require frequent adjustments to make sure it evolves with your life. Watch, "Budgeting Step 4: Make Adjustments," to learn more.

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