How to Budget Your Bills in 6 Simple Steps

Published on February 20, 2017 by Lauren
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    One of the hardest things for many of us is coming up with a practical budget that is not overly complicated. Learning how to budget your bills is a very important first step. The theory is simple enough – “Don't spend more than you make”, but the execution take a little more work.  A commonly asked question I get is – “Is there a how to budget method that I can show me how to stick with it for the long term without giving up?”

    Budgeting at the core isn't “spending less” or living with nothing. Budgeting is really being intentional with your finances – Telling your money where to go. Your money is going to go somewhere. It always does. The issue is do you know where your money is going? If not, here's some tips to help you get more control over your money.

    How to Budget your Bills in 6 Simple Steps

    1. Write down all of your Bills

    This step might seem obvious, but if you don't have all of your monthly bills written down in one place, you need to do it.

    Here's how the bill situation looks for most people:

    • A stack of paper bills that came in the mail
    • Some bills are only emailed to you
    • Some are both emailed and mailed
    • Different bills are on auto-draft
    • Some you pay manually every month online
    • Other bills you might pay with check or cash
    • Then there are the quarterly bills
    • Music/Dance lessons
    • School Sports

    Is is still as simple as we imagine? It is easy to be disorganized with our bills because they hit us from all sides. Get out a sheet of paper, a notebook, or your Personal Finance Planner. Make a list of all your bills, when they're typically due, and what method you'll use to pay it. Let's turn this ‘how to budget your bills' question into a successful budgeting strategy!

    2. Put them in order of importance.

    Take that same list of bills and put it in order of priority. If your money is tight one month, you don't want to be paying your cable bill before your student loans. Needs, financial responsibilities, and necessities always should be paid before luxuries and ‘wants'. If a financial crisis hits, you want to make sure more important bills get your money first.

    3. Add Your Bills up and Subtract that total from your Income

    Once your Bills are prioritized. Total up the entire list. Now you have a complete Bill and recurring monthly expense list plus a payment priority structure set up! Take that bill total and subtract it from your total monthly take-home pay amount. It is important not to use your gross (before taxes) paycheck amount.

    4. Don't forget all the Other Expenses!

    If your take-home pay is enough to cover all your regular bills, that's awesome! But what about your other expenses? You should also consider how much you are spending every month on the ‘other stuff'.

    I'm talking about:

    • The coffee shop
    • Fast Food
    • Clothes
    • Hair Cuts
    • Date Night
    • etc.

    Where is the rest of your money going? Knowing how to budget your bills can cover a lot more areas than we typically think of at first glance. See if you can afford all of these other additional expenses with your take-home pay as well.

    5. Find Ways to Cut Expenses

    Whether you can afford all of your bills and other expenses or not, you should still be looking for ways to cut expenses. I'm not talking about going crazy. You can save a TON of money without selling everything you own and moving your family of 5 into an electricity-free, plumbing-free ‘tiny home'. Here are my TOP ways to easily and quickly cut thousands off of your expenses:

    1. Meal Planning and Freezer Cooking
    2. Shopping at ALDI
    3. Cut out cable TV and try an alternative
    4. Lower your phone bill
    5. Shop around for better Insurance

    6. Find Ways to Make More Money on the side.

    Whether you're a stay-at-home mom or you have a 7am-6pm M-F career. There are so many ways in this modern age to make money on the side! Use this extra money to build an emergency fund, save for Christmas or a vacation, or pay down more debt. Besides my list of 24 side-hustles, here's a list of other ways to make more money on the side:

    1. Make money from things you're already buying
    2. Take Online Surveys
    3. Become a Freelance Writer
    4. Sell stuff online, Start an eCommerce business, Sell Handmade goods

    In closing, learning how to budget your bills sounds easy at first. But after digging into it a bit more, it is pretty complicated.  By following these 6 easy steps, you can be well on your way to an organized budget!

    COMMENTS

  • Thanks for these tips Lauren! I miss your podcast! I love ALDI too and would love another ALDI podcast!!:)

    I am curious about your decision to remove the Goldman Sachs promotion from blog (but thankful you did). Hope you write about that choice – your honest style is what I enjoy most.

  • Number 4 can be a killer! Writing them all down sometimes is enough to show you that you have a problem in spending!!! I don’t even want to go into what happened when my wife and I started looking at the trips to Chic-fil-a every week lol. Thanks for sharing

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