How to Create A Simple Budget

Empower yourself by knowing exactly how you use your money.

A good budget provides guidelines for better living

Put it in writing to stay committed to the cause:

Building a budget can be a great way to help reduce financial stress and plan for the future. According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans, over 30% of respondents did not have their family on a budget. If you haven’t created a budget before or need to adjust your budget due to recent changes in your life, let Coastal Credit Union walk you through the basics of how to make a budget, and why you need one.

The State of Americans’ Financial Wellness

Many people in the United States aren’t on solid financial footing, which can cause worry and discomfort. In fact, according to a recent study of Americans' finances: 

  • 17% are financially vulnerable 
  • 54% are struggling to cope with their finances
  • 12% of Americans have less than one week of living expenses saved

To help you get on the right financial track, follow these 5 key steps to creating an effective, yet simple budget: 

Calculate Your Net Income and Expenses

  • Figure out how much money is coming into your household, and how much money is going out 

  • Your gross income is the amount of money that you earn before taxes and other deductions, such as health insurance, are taken out of your paycheck

  • What you’re left with is your net income, or take-home pay

  • Break your regular expenses into fixed and variable expenses to help you begin to plan a budget

  • Fixed expenses are the bills that tend to be around the same amount each month – like your housing or daycare – while variable expenses change each month

Put Your Budget in Writing

  • Use a spreadsheet, an App, or a computer program to help you track your budget and put it into writing 
  • Next, you’ll want to categorize all of your fixed and variable expenses including: housing, transportation, gifts/donation, savings/investments, pets, legal, taxes, personal care, children, food, entertainment, insurance, and loans 

Set Your Savings Goals

  • Determine your short and long-term goals. Do you want to buy a house? Go on vacation? Save up for your children’s education or pay down credit card debt? It's important that you ask yourself these important questions 

  • It's recommended that you set aside 10-15% of your net income toward your priority goals, like investments, savings or paying down debt

Review Your Spending

  • Take a close look at how much you’ve been spending in each category

  • A good rule of thumb is to allow yourself 50% toward your fixed expenses, 20% toward your goals and 30% of your budget toward variable or flexible spending items. This is called the 50/20/30 guideline

Use Online and Mobile Banking to Automate

  • Now it’s time to put your budget into action using Coastal Credit Union's Digital Banking services

  • If you know you need to put aside a certain amount of money each month into your savings account, set up an automatic transfer between your checking and savings accounts 

  • You can also pay bills with ease by scheduling via Online Banking and our Mobile Banking app

Building a budget doesn’t need to be complicated, but it is essential to helping you reach your short- and long-term financial goals. Let our online tools help you.

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