A budget is one of the most important financial documents you can have. Not only do budgets prevent you from spending beyond your means, but they serve as the greatest tool when it comes to knowing how much money you can save. When budgets are used properly, they help you identify where you are spending too much and draw your attention to where you can make changes.

Budgets can come in a number of forms. It is important to figure out what is a good fit for you so that it becomes something that is easy for you to do!

Ready to start budgeting?

  • Download the excel budget that already has the formulas ready to go. Keep it on your computer desktop and save a different version for each month. For step by step instructions on how to fill out your excel budget, click here.
  • Consider using a paper budget to log the different types of expenses and income that you have. This budget is flexible to allow you to create weekly, monthly, or a semester budget. If you would rather have a paper budget you can download the budget pdf and to keep in a safe place, like a folder in your desk at home. 
  • Want to keep your budget by your side? You can download the iPhone budget or Blackberry budget application for your Smartphone.
  • Are you a visual person? Consider using Mint.com, which is an online program (also available for your phone) that will track and display your income and expenses in a graph.  The best part is that it's free!

If you need more help identifying what qualifies as an income or an expense, start by using the Income Worksheet or the expense log to get into the habit of tracking every source of money and every purchase you make.

Because any money you receive qualifies as income, it is important to acknowledge and track where all of your income sources can be. Use the Income Worksheet to help you identify all of your sources of income so that you know what needs to be included in your budget.

Use the Expense Log so that you know what you need to keep track of as you begin to prepare for your budget.