Financial success hinges on creating and sticking to a budget. A budget, also called a spending plan, allows you to plan your monthly expenses and track where your money goes. Budgeting isn’t always easy, but keep trying! You may fail a few times, but if you stick with it you’ll find a method that works for you. To begin on a positive note, check out these budgeting success tips.

Man trying to figure out his budget on a white board

::Where do I begin?::

Use our free online personal budgeting tool or create your own using a spreadsheet or online software. To complete a customized spending plan, you’ll need to:

One common method to break down a budget is the 50/30/20 spending plan. As shown in the image below, you would allocate 50% of your income to essential expenses, such as housing, transportation and groceries; 30% to flexible expenses, like dining out and entertainment; and 20% to savings to cover unexpected costs, build an emergency fund, and meet personal or family goals, such as college planning, travel, and retirement.

If using a spreadsheet or online budgeting tool doesn’t fit your personality, there are a few alternative ways to budget, including the envelope system. Remember, there’s no “right” way to manage your money, explore different methods until you find what works best for you.

If you need to reduce spending even more, explore this list of ways to save on must-have expenses.

::Additional Resources::

Budgeting Tools