Budgeting is scary when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. It feels like you’ve got bills coming at you from every angle and you never know if you’re going to have enough money. Eventually you have to sit down and take a good hard look at your finances. I fully recommend starting with the traditional budget where you do everything by percentages. To really know where you stand and if you’re making enough money for all of your bills.
If you are using credit cards for anything you need to see what you can do to stop using them and get those balances paid down. If you want to use them for rewards cool, but make sure you are getting the balance paid off every month. Those rewards aren’t worth anything if you’re paying interest fees.
You should also try to build up an emergency fund. I’ve heard everything from $1000 to 3 months worth of bills. Basically if you lose your job or your car breaks down or you have some other surprise bill you should have some money set aside to take care of it so it doesn’t break the bank for you.
If you find you’re getting down to the wire before payday or your bills are due sometimes having a visual can help you get back on track. I started using Calendar Budget almost a year ago. Back then I was still using my credit card to pay some of my bills because I was not making enough to cover everything.
I now have almost $600 in savings and I’m paying extra on my credit card payment every month. (I had some other life changes that helped me to achieve this.) It really helped me to see what I was spending on alcohol, junk food, eating out, and general household expenses (I had roommates and I basically bought everything for the house we were living in).
When I first started using Calendar Budget it took me about 4 tries to get it how I wanted it. It didn’t help that the site was glitching on me just a little bit, but it appears they’ve fixed that now when I created a second account to show you exactly how this works.
First you sign up on the Calendar Budget Website.
Then it’s going to ask you how you want to set up your calendar. You can either import a file from your bank account or do it manually. When I go into my checking account online it gives me the option to “Download Account Activity.” Yours might be different. Your banker will be able to tell you how if you can’t figure it out.
If you don’t want to do that you can always just input all of the details manually. (You can click any of these pictures to open them to their full size.)
Over on the left side it shows you all of your categories. You can turn the colors on by clicking the check box at the top that says “Select All.” There you have it, now everything is color coded. In my real one I changed everything to bright colors.
If any of this is unclear please comment so I can get it cleared up. I really think this is a great website and it has helped me so much.I often find that it seems like I’m going to have extra money in my account but I look to the next month ahead and I see that in three weeks I’m going to be in bad shape. This lets me know to hang on to that money because I am going to need it in the future.
I can also preplan for trips this way. Just program in how much you’re going to need for something and you can check to make sure it isn’t going to break the bank down the road.