This is the second post in my Free Budgeting Guide. To get caught up, click here.

List your fixed payments.

Things like rent, utilities, and subscriptions.

If you have debt (think credit cards or student loans), include only the minimum payment amount for each. You will adjust these amounts as you get further into your budget. Include the total balance of your debt in a separate space so you know how much it’ll cost to pay it off.

Add all your recurring payments to get the total amount.

Include your variable payments

Include recurring items that you pay for each month, but don’t have a bill: groceries, gas for your car, bus pass, savings, hair cuts, etc.

Don’t know how much you spend each month on these items? Give it your best guess. You can adjust these numbers later.

Add all your variable payments to get the total amount.

Add all your payments to get your total expenses for the month.

Add your fixed and variable payments to figure out how much you pay each month. This is the (minimum) amount of money you need for the month. If the amounts seem off, remember that you’re just starting your budget. You can adjust these numbers later.

When do you make payments?

List all of your expenses according to when they need to be paid. This will most likely be around the 1st of the month and the 15th of the month.

Calculate the total amount you pay per paycheck as well.

Tip: Try splitting your additional payments between the two pay periods. For instance, if you want to budget $200.00 for groceries, you can use $100.00 from your first paycheck and $100.00 from your second paycheck.

Make sure that the amounts per paycheck still equal your total payments calculated in the previous steps. If the math is off, take a moment to find and correct the error(s).