Imagine a world where you always have enough money. You’re confident that your paycheck will cover all your bills and you can easily pay them on time each month. You know how much you can afford to spend on food and other necessities, and you know how much money you have left to save or spend on drinks on the weekend.

In this world, nothing catches you off guard. You aren’t stressed or worried about making ends meet. You’re in control of your money. Your money is not in control of you.

Do you like this world?

Your new budget is the first step toward achieving this better way of life.

Budgeting: the key to mastering your money

Your budget will be your game plan for your money. It will align with your goals and values and help you stay focused. It will let you be proactive with your money and will make sure you use it intentionally.

This guide will help you learn how to make a plan for your money so that you get the most use out of it. When you finish your budget, you’ll have a plan to spend or save what you make; there won’t be any way for you to lose track of it or “accidentally” spend it. No excuses. Not anymore. You’ll be spending your money on purpose from here on out. Then you’ll be able to achieve your financial goals and have the peace of mind that you deserve.

Make a budget today

Before you get started, you’ll need the following information:

(Recommended) Financial Goals. It’s helpful to have goals when you get started so you know what you’re aiming for. If you don’t have them right now, that’s OK. You can still go through this process. But you WILL need goals.

Budgeting Method. You’ll need a system for writing and tracking your budget. You can also use a pencil and paper, but I recommend tools like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. They make budgeting faster and allows you to make edits quickly.

Income. Know 1) your total income and 2) the amount per paycheck. For instance, if you get paid twice a month, you’ll need both of those pay amounts.

Expenses. Know all of your monthly expenses, including minimum payments and remaining balances for all debts, and exact payment dates. You’ll also need to have any recurring expenses that are not bills, such as groceries, hair cuts, savings, dinner out, etc.