Budgeting 101: How to Make Budget

Yes, budget is not a fun subject, and it intimidates many of you. But really, everyone needs a budget plan. It has become an almost universal law.

In this article, I will elaborate on all the answers to this age-old question: “How to make a budget?

I’m not exaggerating; this may be the most detailed guide content ever written on this topic. Budgeting tips, best budget apps, useful budgeting worksheets, spreadsheets, budgeting tools, online budget planners, and much more are waiting for you.

Let’s start.

Budget Definition: What Is a Budget?

A budget is a spending plan. First, revenues and expenses are calculated, and thus an expenditure plan is made. This plan can be for a month or a year. It may even cover more extended periods.

So who does this budget planning? For example, I do it, and you do it. Companies do this, and governments do it too. Any person and institution with financial affairs can make this plan.

So, as you can understand, a budget is an expenditure plan in the simplest sense.

Now we come to the most critical part.

How to make a budget?

Our “Budgeting 101” lesson starts!

We will go step by step.

Budgeting 101: How to Make a Budget?

Budgeting is not as tricky as it seems. There are steps you need to follow. If you follow these steps, you can easily do this.

Like everything else, but believe me, it’s effortless.

But first, we need to know why budgeting is essential.

Why Is the Budget so Important?

Almost all of us would like to spend more money on something than others. But, If we want to spend more money on the things we love and don’t want any financial problems, we need good budget planning.

Also, life may not always go the way we want, and we may need money for bad times. Therefore, If we’re going to assure ourselves, our family, and our beloved ones, we must make a reasonable budget.

And remember, with budget planning, you can spend money on things you love while saving.

How to Make a Budget in 5 Steps

Make a Budget

There are many different ways and steps to follow to make a budget. But I want to keep it simple.

In my opinion, there are five basic steps to follow when making a budget. You can multiply the number of these steps according to you afterward.

But if you are a beginner, you can easily make yourself a simple budget plan by following the steps below.

Let’s see those steps.

Start by Calculating Your Net Income

How much money goes inside the door in a month? I’m asking this question because if you want to make a budget, you have to calculate the money that goes into your pocket in a month, down to the smallest detail.

Don’t forget to take taxes into account while doing this. If you have any income other than your salary, add them to this net income.

If you are working as a freelancer or seasonal worker, and have trouble calculating net income, choose your worst month of the year.

Put Financial Documents in Front of You

If we’ve calculated our monthly net income, it’s time for things to steal our money out of our pockets.

All receipts, invoices, bank statements, credit card invoices, investment accounts, etc. put in front of you.

Now, calculate one by one. Try to keep a good account of the money that goes out from you monthly and find an average.

Of course, fixed and variable expenses will be huge, but try to set an average; this will make things easier.

Determine Your Purpose

I don’t know why, but people are not very clear about their purpose. So, for example, If you have the intention to make a budget, it means you have a financial objective.

When we are making a budget, we need to decide what we are aiming for. Why am I preparing the budget? What do I want in the short and long term?

When you find definitive answers to these questions, it will be easier for you to live a life within your budget.

For example, I’ve been making a budget lately to avoid my credit card debts. As my debts are settled, the importance of the funding in my life increases, and I live following my budget. Budgeting is that simple for me.

Make a Simple Plan

Making a simple plan is not very possible for most of us. We complicate things for some reason. Or you may have a complicated life.

But still, we can simplify things for ourselves. For example, by calculating our fixed expenses (gasoline, internet, electricity, rent, etc.), we can determine whether we can afford to buy the things we want (PS5, car, house, dress, etc.).

I think this is a simple plan: I want to set aside $100 a month for bad days, and for that, I’ll cancel my monthly music subscription for a while.

Here, I now have a simple plan for my budget.

Check Your Budget Planning

Before I talk about the last step, I would like to make a small note.

Your habits have to change. Unfortunately, otherwise, it is impossible to live a life within this budget.

Well, I changed my habits; what’s next?

Next is to check your budget on a weekly or monthly basis. What did I spend, what did I save, how much money did I spare for bad days, did I act following my goals?

If you don’t control your budget, you won’t be able to reach your goals. For example, I’m trying to set aside some money for bad days these days, and every month I look at my budget to see if I’ve succeeded.

8 Life-Saving Personal Budgeting Tips

Now I would like to give you some life-saving tips on budgeting. Of course, we can reproduce these tips as many times as you want. But I would like to share with you 8 of them that I consider essential.

Here are the best life-saving personal budgeting tips, in my opinion:

Best Budgeting Tips
(Infographic: 8 best budgeting tips)

Build Your Budget Before the Month Begins

If you want to stick to your budget, you should start preparing your budget a week before beginning the new month because your expenses may change in the new month. For example, you will not pay the gym subscription this month. But this can change your entire budget planning.

In other words, every month represents a new beginning for most of us. If every month is a new challenge, we need to adjust our budget plans accordingly and constantly renew them. Trust me, and these personal budgeting tips will make your life easier.

Therefore, before starting a new month, it is necessary to look at what has changed and what has not changed.

Get Rid Of Your Debt

I’ll be honest; it’s pretty hard to budget, save, spend money on the things you love under the burden of debt. Debts will constantly occupy your mind and life.

Whenever I read an article on how to pay debts, the first item is “make a budget plan.” In other words, you still need budget planning to make your budget efficient. Isn’t it weird? All doors lead to the budget.

Therefore, in the first place, it is helpful to make all your budget planning by paying your debts first. When you pay off your debts, you will be able to spend money on the things you love and even set aside money for investments.

Use Apps Correctly and Effectively

We live in a vast digital world. We have many technological tools that make our job easier.

We have dozens of applications that will help us with the budget. You may be someone who loves paper and pens, but still, it’s a good idea to move your physical plans digital.

Believe me, when you use budget apps effectively, you will drop the pen and paper. In my opinion, apps are the best budgeting tools.

So which apps do what? I will write about this topic in detail under the heading The 11 Best Budgeting Apps.

Save Before You Spend

Many people prefer to spend first and save later. How much money is left after you spend it?

However, when we save and invest our money in various investment instruments, we will inevitably accumulate a lot of money to spend.

Moreover, some of what we earn will always remain with us. What we want to do with it is up to us. Whether we buy a car, house or clothes. Or you go buy some stock and wait to make a profit. I don’t know, and it’s totally up to you.

That’s why, as investors like Warren Buffet have pointed out, saving first will make you spend more money later.

Choose Realistic Goals

When saving, it is necessary to set specific goals. Because the more general purposes you selected, the more baseless your plans will be. However, it’s as accurate as a law of nature.

I want to explain this situation with an example. When “I will save!” If I prepared a budget, I could never be successful. But whenever I say, “I’ll save $500 by the end of this month,” I’ve succeeded.

Remember, specifying your desire or purpose in a specific way will make your life easier in every area.

Make Sure to Use Separate Accounts

I’m sure many of us handle all our business from a single account. So was I. But this is the biggest enemy of keeping account for the budget.

For example, I would like to give advice, to use a bank account for all your subscriptions. A different account for your food and daily food purchases, a separate account for your gasoline expenses.

The more you can categorize your spending through different accounts, the easier it is to make a budget.

Don’t Be Hard and Congratulate Yourself

Are you hard on yourself? I like to criticize myself and learn from my mistakes. But I am not cruel to myself.

Budget planning may not always go the way we want. We may not get used to the methods we choose to save money. We may not like to cut our spending. But, we can live all of this.

If you’re struggling with the budget, give yourself time to get used to it. And if you got what you wanted at the end of the month, don’t forget to reward yourself and celebrate that day.

Don’t let budget-friendly living make your life hell!

Don’t Compare Your Budget with Others

Sometimes I read tips on sharing budget plans with others. Unfortunately, I don’t believe this tip is beneficial.

Although people’s competitive nature can be good in some areas, this competition in terms of budget can discourage you.

I think whatever you do, do it for yourself and your family. It doesn’t matter how other people are on the budget. You can learn from other people’s budget planning; you can get budgeting help, but don’t compete with anyone on this.

The 11 Best Budgeting Apps for 2021

The key question: “What is the best budget app?

Now I will tell you about the best budget apps that you can use when making a budget. If you say you like to do my work digitally, I recommend this online budget planner software.

To give preliminary information, most of the applications that I will talk about basically connect with your financial accounts and categorize your spending.

Here are the 11 best budgeting apps for iPhone and Android, in my opinion. I’m sure it will all work for you!

1. Mint

As I said in the preliminary information, utilities for budget connect with your financial accounts and categorize your transactions. Mint does the same.Mint

For example, you set yourself a spending limit in a specific category; if you exceed this budget, Mint warns you.

Another beauty of Mint is that you can track all your invoices from a single place through the application. If your bill is approaching, the application sends you a warning.

Many features, including all these features I mentioned, are free. That’s why we can consider Mint among the best free budgeting software.

I can feel the smile on your face when you see “free.”

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Point: 4.8/5
  • Ratings: 663.5K
  • Price: Free, The Ad-Free Experience ($0.99)

Mint can be the best free budgeting app in the market. So, if you use iPhone, click here for download. Also, Android users can download from here.

2. YNAB (You Need a Budget)

Now there’s a paid app: YNAB. I think YNAB, along with Mint, is one of the most popular budgeting apps on the market. (Perhaps, the best budgeting app.) It also has a very fun subreddit page.

I think this budget planner app is not for those new to budgeting. Because it has impressive features, it is helpful, but you have to pay a monthly ($11.99) or yearly ($84) fee.YNAB (You Need A Budget)

So if you want to use this app, ask yourself the question: Am I determined?

Also, YNAB is based on a zero-based budgeting system. This means that you must budget for every dollar you earn.

As a result, with YNAB, you can categorize your spending, connect your financial accounts to the app, track your savings plans, and attend workshops.

In short, you can access a lot of budget-related things through this application.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Point: 4.8/5
  • Ratings: 32.9K
  • Price: Free, Monthly Subscription ($11.99), Yearly Subscription ($84)

If you want to download YNAB, click here for iOS or click here for Android.

3. PocketGuard

If you can’t afford YNAB and you’re new to budgeting, I can recommend PocketGuard.PocketGuard

The application creates a budget based on your spending habits. So, if you want to save and put more money into your investment account at the end of the month, I think PocketGuard is an excellent application. But, of course, there is no UI as rich as YNAB.

But if you want to visualize your spending, track the event on graphs, and don’t want to pay for it, you can use this budget planner app.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Point: 4.7/5
  • Ratings: 6.7K
  • Price: Free, PocketGuard Plus ($4.99), Monthly Subscription ($7.99)

You can go to PocketGuard’s App Store page here. Android users can access the Play Store page here.

4. Simplifi by Quicken

Like other applications, Simplifi by Quicken works in sync with your bank accounts. According to your spending during the month, it gives warnings about how much you should spend.Simplifi

You can also see your monthly subscriptions and invoices in the application if you wish. Honestly, I like the interface as well.

If you want to use the application for a budget, the first month is free, but if you’re going to use it for a long time, you have to pay a yearly fee of 35.99.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Point: 4.2/5
  • Ratings: 738
  • Price: Free, Monthly Subscription ($3.99), Yearly Subscription ($35.99)

If you use iPhone for budgeting apps, click here to download. You can click here for Android.

5. Wally

Wally may have a more complex interface than previous apps, but it’s still a pretty good app for budgeting.Wally

The application simply shows you how much budget you have left when you spend. And like other apps, it helps you calculate your expenses and incomes.

The main reason I’ve added Wally to the list is that it’s free. I don’t want you to spend more money on budgeting.

  • Platform: iOS
  • Point: 3.9/5
  • Ratings: 1.5K
  • Price: Free, Wally Gold – Monthly ($8.99), Monthly Bank Account Linking ($2.99)
    Wally Gold with Trial – Annual ($24.99), Wally Gold – Lifetime ($99.99), Wally Gold – Annual ($39.99)

There is currently no Android version of Wally. So be careful not to download fake budget apps.

If you want to download the Wally on iOS, click here.

6. Goodbudget

Is Goodbugdet a good online budget planner?

Goodbudget divides your expenses (subscriptions, bills, rent, entertainment, etc.) into different categories with its envelope budgeting system.Goodbudget

I added this application to the list because couples or more than one person can use the same budget together on iPhone and Android. So the application is handy, especially for couples with joint finances. But, of course, you can also use it alone.

You can use the application for free. However, if you want to take advantage of the extra features, you have to pay a monthly fee of 7 dollars.

I think Goodbudget is among the best budget apps for couples.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Point: 4.7/5
  • Ratings: 12.5K
  • Price: Free, Monthly Plus Plan ($5.99), Monthly Plus Plan ($6.99), Yearly Plus Plan
    ($49.99), 3 Months of Plus Plan ($17.99)

If you want to download from iOS, click here. Also, if you use Android, you can download it from here.

7. Mvelopes

Mvelopes and Goodbudget have a similar system. Both use the envelope budgeting system. Mvelope’s main difference from Goodbudget is that it syncs with bank accounts.Mvelopes

Mvelopes is not free. But it can be linked to unlimited financial accounts.

So if you want to keep track of your regular expenses with the classical envelope budgeting system, you can give this budget planner app a chance.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Point: 4.4/5
  • Ratings: 3.8K
  • Price: Free, Basic Monthly ($5.99), Basic Yearly ($54.99), Plus Monthly ($18.99), Premier ($94.99)

Click to download Mvelopes on iOS. If you want to download it on Android, you can click here.

8. Zeta

Zeta is another budgeting app for couples or people with joint finances. Plus, it’s a free budgeting app.Zeta

If you are newly engaged or married and want to create a joint budget, give this app a definite chance because you don’t have to pay any fees to connect your financial accounts.

You can track all your expenses, invoices, extra payments, and savings through this application.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Point: 4.4
  • Ratings: 5.7K
  • Price: Free

If you want to download the budget app for iOS, click here. If you want to download it for Android, click here.

9. Personal Capital

Personal Capital is an investment vehicle. But you can get help to get information about your expenses and budget planning for free from the application.Personal Capital

Moreover, you can easily connect your savings and credit card accounts (and many more) to the application. In other words, you can easily track your situation in terms of expenses through the application.

The app, like most apps on the list, divides your spending into categories. You can set these categories according to you.

As I said, you can use the application for a free budgeting app. But remember, Personal Capital is not a “budgeting app” like other apps.

For me, Personal Capital is among the best free budgeting apps for personal use.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Point: 4.7/5
  • Ratings: 31.6K
  • Price: Free

If you want to download Personal Capital’s application from the App Store, you can click here, and if you want to download it from the Play Store, you can click here.

10. EveryDollar

EveryDollar (aka Dave Ramsey’s budget app) is a practical and free budgeting tool. You can use the tool on the desktop, iPhone, and Android.EveryDollar Budget App

You can make a monthly budget planner with the application. You can also track your expenses like in other applications. But you need EveryDollar Plus membership for this feature. So you have to pay money.

The app is generally free. You can add your invoices, and you can specify your purposes. You can use it on multiple devices.

If you’re looking for the largely best budgeting app, you can use Dave Ramsey’s budget app.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Point: 4.8/5
  • Ratings: 52.4K
  • Price: Free, Plus ($12.99), Plus ($129.99)

If you want to use EveryDollar’s budget app on iPhone, you can click here. If you are an Android user, you can click here.

11. Honeydue

Honeydue is another best budget app for couples. Together with your partner, you can see all your expenses, debts, bank accounts, and loans in a single account. Of course, you can adjust how much information you share with each other.Honeydue Budget App For Couples

The Honeydue budget app also categorizes your spending like a few other apps on the list. If you want, you can set these categories yourself. If you spend any extra in these categories, the app warns you and your partner. In addition, Honeydue also sends alerts for debts.

Honeydue is one of my favorite budgeting apps for couples. It is also a very nice detail that couples can send emojis to each other. I liked the certainty.

Moreover, this is a free budget app. You only tip if you want. So you can consider the app among the best free budgeting apps.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Point: 4.5./5
  • Ratings: 6.7K
  • Price: Free, Monthly Tips ($0.99, $1.99,…, $8.99, $9.99)

If you want to use Honeydue’s budget app for couples with iPhones, you can click here. Android users can also access the application by clicking here.

Bonus: 6 Budget Templates For Excel Lovers (Free and Printable)

I know that some of you still can’t break out of Excel. For this reason, I found a few personal budget templates (or worksheets or spreadsheets) that I think are useful for Excel lovers. All of them are designed for various needs. And, all budgeting worksheets in the list are free and printable.

All these templates, spreadsheets, or worksheets I mentioned are on Vertex42.com. Besides working with Microsoft Excel, these templates are also compatible with LibreOffice Calc, Apache OpenOffice Calc, and Google Sheets.

I will be sharing the link to each template with you.

Let’s take a look together.

Family Budget Planner Worksheet

Family Budget This free family budget planner, as the name suggests, is designed for families’ budget needs. This template, where you can calculate monthly income and expenses, will make your job very easy when you want to buy a house when necessary.

I think with careful budget planning, using this budget planner, you have a chance to achieve most of the things you want. I think you should give this worksheet a try, which is the most popular budget planner on Vertex.

You can determine expenses and savings very well, and it has a straightforward design. Frankly, I loved it.

  • You can find the free family budget planner worksheet here.

Household Budget Worksheet

Household Budget

If you want to make a detailed household budget planning and are looking for a template accordingly, you can look at this free budgeting worksheet.

You can change all categories and labels in the worksheet according to your wishes via Excel (and others). I’m sure you can customize many more things. I hope it helps you in planning your budget.

Not forgetting, this household budget template is for monthly planning. If you need yearly planning, try a family budget planner.

  • You can click here for the free monthly household budget planner.

Simple Budget Worksheet

If you’re new to budgeting and don’t know where to start, this template is pretty simple, I recommend it.Simple Budget

The template has this function, basically: It shows you how much you need to spend to save money each month.

Plus, the simple budget planner generates charts to show you how to divide your savings. It offers you four different areas to evaluate your savings: savings, emergency, debt payoff, other goals.

How much money you allocate to these categories and how much you save is, of course, up to you. You can set it as you wish on the budget template. You can also rename tags and categories.

I think it is very, very ideal for a start.

If you’re looking for a sample budgeting worksheet for college students and teenagers, I think this is the best budget tool to get started. Plus, it’s a printable budget planner.

  • You can view the simple budget template here.

Business Budget Worksheet

So far, I’ve always talked about personal or family budgets.Business Budget

Now it’s time to talk about some business. Even if you have a small business, the business budget is vital because a business budget allows you to grow your business and give yourself and your employees a raise.

Likewise, when you want to make a purchase, you can track how much the company needs to save from this budget.

Most importantly, if you don’t want to go bankrupt, you must have a business budget. What more can I say.

  • You can check out the business budget worksheet here.

Personal Budgeting Excel Spreadsheet

You’ve just started your business life, and you are having a hard time spending and saving, and if you want help with a simple budget, then this template is for you.

Also, this free personal budgeting planner worksheet is printable. You can easily print it by making the changes you want on Excel. Changing categories is pretty easy.

You can categorize your expenses as you wish. Honestly, I really like this template.

  • You can check the personal budgeting Excel spreadsheet here.

Project Budgeting Worksheet

Project Budget TemplateBudget plays a vital role in projects as in businesses. I am sure that if you use this project template together with good project planning, you will have no trouble calculating what and how much you should spend.

This project budgeting template is designed for every need. From small jobs to large jobs, you can optimize your needs.

Hint for free budgeting worksheets on the list: If you are looking for a budgeting worksheet pdf, you can quickly convert the worksheet to PDF on Google Sheets. All free budgeting worksheets on the list can be used on Google Sheets (and downloadable as PDF).

Conclusion

Here are my personal budgeting tips. If you are serious and determined about the budget, I am sure that the recommendations, best budgeting apps, worksheets, or spreadsheets I shared with you will make your job easier.

And I can confidently say that all these budget tips and tools I’ve shared will be the best budgeting planners for a long time to come.

Finally, I can say this: Set firm goals and don’t set your goals too big. Limit your desire as much as possible. As long as we are aware of our strengths, we achieve success quickly.

Please do not forget to leave a comment in the comments section. You can write anything you want.

And the finale is from Warren Buffet: “Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *