How to Set and Stick to a Budget

~Tips on creating and sticking to a budget~

Why set a budget in 2022? Recently biblical investing authority Dan Celia gave his market overview for January 2022. According to Celia, all the markets closed in negative territory at the end of the month. In January the S&P was down 5.3% for the month, making it the worst month since March 2020. The NASDAQ was down 8.9% and the DA was down 3.3%. Celia says these negative indicators do not bode well for the rest of 2022. See January 2022 Market Overview.

According to Reuters, the number of Americans filing new unemployment claims jumped to a three-month high last week, possibly as a result of the new Omicron strain of COVID disrupting business activity. With an uncertain financial future, now is the time to set and stick to a realistic budget more than ever.

The wise have wealth and luxury,

but fools spend whatever they get.

Proverbs 21:20 NLT

The Bible is clear about the foolishness of those who spend everything they earn. However, for many people creating a budget is a daunting task and then trying to live by it can seem impossible when it is so easy to put things on credit.

Christian Activities turned to financial wizard Dave Ramsey for some answers on the how’s and why’s of creating a budget.

Set and Stick to a Budget

Dave Ramsey recommends having your budget set before the month begins. He is a proponent of using a zero-based budget where your income minus your expenses equals zero. He has crystalized this into four simple steps:

  • List all forms of income. This figure is the total income after taxes are deducted of your household including jobs, self-employment, social security and all other forms of income.
  • List all expenses. This list should account for every dollar you spend and include monthly and quarterly bills, as well as food, fuel, etc.
  • Subtract expenses from income to equal zero. In other words, your income minus your expenses should be zero.
  • Track your spending. Ramsey offers a free tool to help make this process easy. The free EveryDollar tool helps with tracking and budgeting for expenses.

To stick to your budget, tracking your spending is crucial. If you don’t use Ramsey’s system, keep your own log of all your expenses to help you stay within your budget. You can use an old-fashioned written ledger or a nifty new-fangled app or software.

But how can you keep your expenses in line? Tricks like using cash on hand instead of credit cards can help limit spending. Taking a moment or two before putting items in your shopping cart to ask if they are really necessary can help. Finding inexpensive recreation alternatives like hiking, local sightseeing, and eating more meals at home can reduce expenses. For more tips on sticking to a budget, visit debtconsolidation.com

Having a system to track your income and expenditures every month is vital to helping you live within your means. Whether you try Dave Ramsey’s budgeting tool or use a ledger or choose software like QuickBooks or a site like Mint.com, tracking your expenses is critical if you want to set and stick to your budget.

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