Creating a budget and sticking to it is the first step towards reaching those debt free and savings goals. We understand that getting started with a budget is the hardest part so here are the three steps to creating a budget for yourself and sticking with it.

Step 1: Figure Out Your Finances

1. List out the streams of income you have coming in
Where is your money coming from? If you have multiple jobs, you’re self-employed, child support, government assistance, etc — create a list of all the money you have coming in so you know the amount of income you have to work with.

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2. List out the expenses you have each month
Where is your money going? It’s just as important to know how much you have coming in as how much is going out. This step may feel overwhelming so start small and develop this list as time goes on. Utilities, going out to eat, mortgage, car payments, insurance, etc. should all be included on the list of expenses. One tip we recommend is to update your list of expenses daily with anything you buy that day like a cup of coffee, lunch with coworkers, etc.

3. List the due dates of bills
When a pile of bills comes in the mail, it’s important to know when each of them are due so you can pay them on time and increase your credit score and financial well-being. You want to make sure you don’t miss payments, so add the due dates of each bill next to each expense.

Step 2: Create a Budget
Now that you have the foundation of your finance tracking figured out, the next step is to create a budget so you know how much money you have to save or spend each month for you and your family. The best way to know your budget is by updating it on a regular basis as well as when things change, like income adjustments or no more car payments.

Step 3: Stick to the Budget

1. Set a goal for yourself
No matter how big or small the goal is, it’s helpful to have something to work towards and help you stick with your budget. Every time you hit a goal, make sure to celebrate and reward yourself for reaching it. This will help you keep up with the progress you have made and keep you motivated.

2. Budget tracker
Find an easy way for you to keep track of your spending habits along with all your finances that is easy for you to maintain. Google sheets is a free and easy tool to fill in and keep track. This will keep you organized so you stay on track with your spending and savings. Keep all your receipts in a folder for you to add to your tracker too.

3. Create a plan
It’s easy to put off budget tracking, so create a plan for yourself on when you will update it. Updating it once a week with all receipts and bills coming in will keep your budget tracker up-to-date and keep you aware of where you are at for that month.

City Credit Union makes managing and accessing your money easy for you so call us or visit us today to help you start budgeting and reaching your goals one step at a time.

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