Casera offers a downloadable workbook called Budgeting Basics that takes you step by step through the process of designing a budget that meets your personal financial goals. Produced by the Canadian Credit Union Association, the booklet is a comprehensive guide that will form the foundation of your motivation to manage your current finances and save for the future.
Deciding on Your Goals
Budget planning begins with goal setting. What do you want your money to buy?
Most goals require you to do some financial planning if they are to become a reality. Which goals are most important to you? When do you want to reach them?
You may find it helpful to group your goals into time categories: short-term, mid-term and longterm. Then rank them in order of importance and note the cost involved. This simple plan will serve as the foundation of your budget and it will give you incentive to keep on track.
Setting up and using a budget involves six basic steps:
1. Establish your financial goals: immediate, intermediate and long-term.
2. Examine your current financial position. What is your household income and how much do you spend?
3. Build a monthly budget for each of 12 consecutive months, itemizing expenses in various categories and estimating how much you can reasonably expect to spend in each category.
4. Relate your budget to your overall financial planning. How much money do you expect to have left over after expenses? How will this money be allocated? How long will it take you to reach each goal?
5. Throughout each month, make regular entries of your actual expenditures in each expense category. At month- end, total the amounts and match these figures against your original estimates.
6. Review and revise the budget to keep it useful and up-to-date.