Basics of Budgeting

Tips and Strategies to Stay On Top of Your Finances

Budget Worksheet

Fill out a budgeting worksheet to figure out where you can cut back spending. Use the hyperlink above to begin filling out all of your monthly spending.

Why Budget?

  • Emergencies
  • Paying down debts
  • Short-term goals: ​Things that you save for might include a security deposit for a new apartment or a vacation
  • Saving for retirement
  • Education

SMART Goals

Make sure your financial goals for the future are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive

Budgeting in Six Steps

How to Begin

To effectively budget and secure a financially stable future, it is important to start by creating a budget. This will reduce your money stress and will allow you to add up how much extra income you will have per month, how much you can put into savings, and how much your combined payments will be at the end of the month. Here are six tips to help you budget for the future.


1. Think about your Values and Goals

Making a budget isn’t just about adding up how much you make and taking out what you spend. It helps to start with what you need to live and what you would like to make you happy and secure. What are you working for? Family? A better place to live? Paying bills on time every month? Each of these goals requires that you save a certain amount of money. So decide what you value and what you are working for is the first step.

2. Determining your Monthly Income

Determine what your total monthly income is including all the jobs you have, any money that you may be getting in gifts and/or from family, income from your spouse, and any other assistance payments like SNAP. If you are not exactly sure what your monthly income is, you should refer to your paycheck.

3. Determining what your Expenses are

Every single thing you spend money on counts toward your expenses. Rent, utilities, groceries, debt, fast food, and purchasing clothing all should be budgeted into your monthly expenses.

4. Plan to Save and Cut Costs

How much do you want to save month to month? What are things you can cut from what you spend? What savings tools (coupons, signing up for SNAP if you are income eligible and buying on sale products) can you use to lower your monthly expenses? If you can put away 5 to 10 dollars a day from your daily crew pay, it will add up to a large amount in a short time.

5. Keep Track of your Expenses

Make sure you are regularly writing down or checking your bank statement so you know how much you are spending. Within many mobile banking apps, you can set up an expense tracker that will allow you to see how much money you are spending in different categories. If you are taking cash out of an ATM, you could write down notes on your phone to track what you are spending the money on.

6. Adjust Budget as needed

Keep track of your progress and if you are having trouble sticking to your budget, please don’t hesitate to reach out to CEO staff for help.