How to Make a Monthly Budget Like a Boss (with Printable)

by Julie

The more you make, the less you seem to keep. Do you have this problem, too? Why is money so hard to hold onto? It certainly requires being organized, planning ahead, and having a good budget in place. But do you know how to make a monthly budget that works?

Learn to make a monthly budget that works!

Many of us make an attempt at a budget, but then unexpected things creep up or holidays and birthdays happen, and our good intentions go out the window. There’s always something that is getting our attention and wanting us to buy it, take it home, and live with us. We live in a world surrounded by commercials, and it is no surprise that we are also a world struggling with personal finances.

But baby steps. Yes, it takes willpower to be strict with a budget, but creating a budget in the first place is a vital step. When you create a budget for the first time (or even if it has been a while since you revisited your budget), it really opens your eyes to where your money has been going and motivates you to perhaps make a few changes or course corrections here and there. So let’s dive in and take the first step on a journey to financial awareness with setting up a budget.

How to Make a Budget for One Month

I like to start on a scale that is easier to maintain, so I like to think of my budget as a monthly bucket. I fill it up with income and pour out expenses. And see what I’m left with at the end of the month.

What is the first step in making a budget? Look at your Income Sources

The income section is a vital piece in the budgeting equation, as it is important to know the amount of money we are working with each month. Reviewing all our income streams is a happy step, too, since this is where we collect the rewards of our hard work.

As a full-time employee, I have a bi-weekly paycheck. This step is easy because I know exactly how much I bring home after all the tax deductions as well as health insurance deductions simply by looking at my paycheck stub. Note: just going by hourly wages is not going to give us the exact amount unless your work isn’t withholding anything for your taxes or insurance. If you have a regular paycheck that is the same each pay period, include one month’s worth of paychecks for yourself, your spouse, and anyone else contributing to the household.

This step gets a bit more complicated for those of us self-employed, freelancing, etc. I would consider my blogging income in this category, and this is why I track all blogging income and expenses so carefully.

Consider whether you have a steady income or if it varies – chances are it may vary quite a bit if you are not working regular hours or are working on a project basis for clients or brands. In this case, it is a good idea to review income over at least 90 days or longer and calculate an average monthly self-employment salary for yourself. If you want to be extra conservative in your budget planning, you may wish to go with the lowest salary month as your estimated salary.

Consider any income sources:

  • Paychecks from your salary or hourly job(s)
  • Earnings from client work
  • Blogging and Social Media income
  • Freelance writing income
  • Survey payouts
  • Refund apps
  • Babysitting cash
  • Stocks sold

Those are some examples, did I miss anything? Consider those items that occur regularly and have a steady payout to calculate your baseline income.

How to make a monthly budget in Excel?

The worksheet I’m providing for you free is in PDF. Are you interested in an Excel version monthly budget calculator?

But wait! I expanded the Excel budget workbook to include an income and expenses tracker for the entire year. I’m now offering a budget and expenses calculator workbook to help a fellow working mom out.

This workbook contains the budget planner, monthly and annual tracker, as well as goodies like a savings tracker, a debt payment tracker, net worth calculator, and more!

Over to you – how do you make your monthly budgets?

This post is part of the 31 Tips for Working Moms series. See the rest of the posts here

Want more details about this and other budgeting & minimalist living ideas? Check out more here!
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