Phase 1 Construction
If you have your information together, you’ve input the data into an Excel spreadsheet, color coded and have it organized the way that is most useful to you, it’s time for the first phase of construction of your budget. There are a variety of budgeting techniques available for use. We’ll start with the most basic. This is how I started my first budget and I still like to use this method today. I’ve tried many but I like this one because it’s the most simplistic (at least for me) and the least time consuming. I do not claim that this is the best method for everyone, it just works best for me. I think budgeting is like dieting. If you have to spend too much time preparing, it makes it difficult to stick to.
You’ll need a monthly calendar for this project. I started out by printing the monthly calendar from Microsoft word. I knew I’d need a few copies for my rough drafts so I made sure to print several.
With your monthly calendar you are going to write down, using due dates, your monthly bills. So if your house note or rent is due on the 1st, you put that expense down on the 1st of the month. If your water bill is due on the 8th, write it down on the 8th. If you grocery shop every Friday, then write that down. If you grocery shop every day then write that down on all of the days (and if that’s the case, that’s a problem we need to address).
Your calendar will probably be pretty full once you’ve completed this portion of the budgeting process.
Now, if you have a weekly habit (mine is coffee at hot star on Friday with my daughter), you should record that as well.
When you are finished you should have a picture of your monthly bills, when they are due and other known expenses. See an example below and a blank word calendar for your use if you need one for printing. Stay tuned for Ongoing Budget Construction.