What Is Involved in the Budgeting Process?

Whitney Leigh White

Creating a budget is one of the smartest things a person can do. When a person creates a budget, he or she develops a list of detailed probable expenses, as well as a summary of his or her income. Most people construct a budget so that effective money management can be maintained, which allows them to live a less stressful life, especially when it comes to finances. The budgeting process involves several steps, which includes gathering paperwork, identifying expenses and income, determining ways to economize, and, in some cases, setting up a savings or emergency account. The most important thing to remember about creating a budget is that it must be adhered to in order for it to be effective.

Individuals should prioritize their needs when developing a budget.
Individuals should prioritize their needs when developing a budget.

The first step in the budgeting process is to gather paperwork. This paperwork includes all documentations in relation to any type of bill or expense a person must pay. Most people will gather all of the bills and expenses they have paid for the previous three months. If a person makes any type of biannual or quarterly payment, such as paying a mortgage fee, it is important to not overlook this type of expense. Along with expense and billing paperwork, a person should also gather all of his or her pay stubs from the previous three months. Gathering this paperwork enables a person to identify his or her exact expenses and exact income, which allows him or her to see how much money is coming in and how much is going out.

Creating a budget can prevent unnecessary spending and save money.
Creating a budget can prevent unnecessary spending and save money.

If a person notices he or she has more money going out than coming in, certain expenses will have to be cut. When and if this occurs, a person should prioritize his or her expenses and then rid of the least important ones until more money is coming in, or, at the very least, both are equal. Along with ridding of unimportant expenses, a person should always look for ways to economize when going through the budgeting process. Economizing allows a person to save money, which helps in creating a realistic budget. Many people economize by avoiding restaurants, renting DVDs, installing a programmable thermostat, and more.

After a person develops a budget that reflects more money coming in than going out, he or she must determine what will be done with the extra money. Many times, a person will choose to open a savings or emergency fund account. Many people like to include opening these types of accounts within their budgeting process because unexpected expenses always occur in life. Having an emergency or savings account set aside allows a person to deal with unexpected expenses without messing up his or her budget.

There are many free online software packages geared toward different personal finance needs.
There are many free online software packages geared toward different personal finance needs.

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