Best Software For Keeping Track Of Finances And Budgets Reddit 7 Cash Flow Steps to a Healthy Budget

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7 Cash Flow Steps to a Healthy Budget

The word budget can strike fear into even the strongest of people. If there’s one thing very few people are prepared for when they leave the safety of home for the first time, it’s dealing with money. Not too many people still know how to balance their checkbook after opening their first checking account. So creating a budget can be a scary proposition for someone who isn’t good at keeping track of their money.

But if we look at a budget differently, it might be easier to live with what it is. And it’s all a cash flow plan. All a budget does is keep track of where money is coming out and where it’s flowing. Cash Flow; it’s what makes the world go round.

Here are 7 steps you can use to plan your cash flow and before you know it you’ll have a budget. Start with a piece of paper and a pencil; you can save those budget software packages for later.

1. Write down your monthly income. If you are a salaried employee, this should be easy. If your income is not so stable, add up the value of the last three months and average it by dividing by three. This will give you a good starting point.

2. Start writing down all your monthly expenses. Mortgage, rent, car payment, credit card payments, utilities, groceries, dining out, entertainment, and anything else you spend money on. For those expenses that fluctuate, such as groceries and gas, use the three-month average method to get an accurate amount.

3. Here’s the scary part for most people. Subtract the expenses from the income and see what is left. You will have a positive or negative cash flow. Unfortunately, in this day of mounting debt most people have negative cash flow.

4. Once you have your monthly cash flow in front of you, you can start allocating your money to your expenses. As you make those payments throughout the month, write them down to see how your spending matches what you budgeted for that particular item.

5. If you have negative cash flow, you can start looking at everything you’ve written down and find areas where your spending may not be in the best interest of your financial goals. While doing this, you can free up money for more important financial considerations.

6. The first time you make a cash flow plan it probably won’t work well. It usually takes about three months to get everything working properly as you figure out where your money went each month. Be patient with your budget and in no time it will begin to work and you will regain control of your money.

7. Once you’re comfortable with your written budget and have a better handle on where your money goes and what you do, consider investing in some budgeting software like Quicken. It can make your cash flow plan a lot easier and with added features like retirement and tax planning it can give you a solid financial future.

By using these 7 cash flow steps you can start your budget quickly and easily. Only by regaining control of your money can you improve your financial future for you and your family.

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