Are you ready to make a budget? Take these two steps:
- Gather together any pay stubs, bills, or receipts you need to help you figure out what you make and what you spend every month.
- Use the Budget Worksheet (view PDF or Microsoft Word file) to create your own monthly budget.
Before you start, review these tips on how to make your budget work.
Tips to make your budget work
- Keep your budget up to date. Over time, your income and your spending will change. Your budget will need to change also.
- Keep your budget simple. Don't make it a lot of work. Estimate your spending if you don't have all your receipts.
- Be honest and realistic. Make sure the numbers really show what you spend.
- Don't expect your budget to work out the first time that you try it. Check your numbers and look for places where you can spend less.
- Allow for surprises. Some bill always comes along that you didn't expect.
- Reward yourself if your budget works out.
- If you don't overspend, using a credit card gives you a good record of your spending. Always pay it off in full at the end of each month.
- If you are paying too much towards debt, you can get free advice about what to do. Go to the or look up a professional under 'credit and debt counselling' in the Yellow Pages of your phone book.
- If you are comfortable working with computers, use a spreadsheet program for your budget. Then, when you make one change, a simple mouse click will show how your whole budget is affected.
Remember: A budget is for saving as well as spending
If you have some money left over in your budget after you have paid the bills, start saving it. You will have the fun of deciding how to use your savings to achieve your goals. That?s the power of a budget.
Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization promoting financial literacy to Canadians. To find out more go to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.