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6 Steps to Help You Simplify Your Budget

6 Steps to Help You Simplify Your BudgetNobody wants to keep track of a complicated budget. Even if you know that budgeting is important, you still don’t want to dedicate a large portion of your free time to this task. When you are away from work, you’d rather be spending time with your family and friends as opposed to staring at a spreadsheet on your computer.

So, is it possible to keep a simple budget for your household? Of course! Here are six helpful tips.

Have a Miscellaneous Category

The task of creating a category for every single penny you spend throughout a month is an unnecessary complication for the budgeting process.

Instead, create a miscellaneous category which can catch various small purchases that don’t fit anywhere else. Of course, this category should have a budget limit just like the rest of your categories, to make sure you don’t waste money on random items during the month.

Use Averages

You aren’t going to know what some of your expenses will be in advance, but you can use average values to even things out.

For instance, your utility bills will likely vary throughout the year, based on weather and other factors. Look at past bills and come up with an average number you can use for budgeting purposes.

Schedule an Annual Review

Trying to update your budget on a monthly basis is probably not necessary. Instead, consider looking at your budget once per year to make changes.

For the rest of the year, you will be using your budget to guide your spending habits – but you won’t be actively looking to change it. Only when your annual review comes around will you invest the time needed to tweak the budget to match changes in your life.

Keep It in One Place

A spreadsheet is an excellent tool for keeping a budget, so create one and save it somewhere it will be easy to find. You can opt for actual personal finance budgeting tools if you would like, but a spreadsheet will get the job done for most people.

The nice thing about a spreadsheet is that it can be perfectly customized to meet your needs.

Streamline Your Spending

if you spend money using a combination of cash and several different debit/credit cards, it might become difficult to keep track of everything going in and out throughout each month. If possible, try to use a couple of cards as your main method of making purchases.

Buy Less Stuff!

Your budget is naturally going to become less complicated if you simply purchase less stuff throughout the course of a month. Not only will buying fewer things mean you don’t have to do as much work on your budget, but it will also let you save money – which is the whole point in the first place!

Most people today buy way more than they need, and life gets pretty expensive as a result. Think about your spending habits carefully and there are sure to be places you can find to cut back.

 

Is your budget simple or complicated? What can you do to make it easier to keep track of?

 

Photo courtesy of: StockSnap

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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