Shelbyville Daily Union

Local News

February 26, 2013

How to establish a budget for the new year

Resolutions abound come the dawn of a new year. Fitness and finances tend to dominate many people’s resolutions, with the goals of shedding a few pounds and saving more money both being popular resolutions.

For those whose focus will be on finances in the coming year, establishing a budget for the new year is a good place to start. The following are a few tips for men and women that should help them plan budgets for the new year and reach their financial goals over the next 12 months.

* Start with your income. How much money is being brought into the household will go a long way toward determining your budget. The first month of the year, when people will receive their earnings statements from the previous year, should provide a clear-cut picture of just how much income the household is generating. Once you have that information, you can begin to establish a budget.

* Make a list of your bills. Knowing what’s coming in is important when establishing a budget, but so is having a firm grasp of what’s going out. Make a list of all of your monthly expenses, from the big ones like a mortgage payment to the smaller ones like how much you spend on a cup of coffee each day. When making a list of these expenses, make note of the day bills are due each month. This can help you determine which weeks of each month you’ll be able to save more money and which weeks you will need to tighten your belt and pay existing bills. Such knowledge will help you establish a budget.

* Make a list of anticipated expenses. Some expenses are there every month. Others are those you expect, such as home improvement projects you plan to finance in the coming year. Make a list of these anticipated expenses. This may involve taking some inventory of things around the house, such as any appliances that may be on their last legs, bigger issues like a roof that may need to be replaced or a bathroom you finally plan to remodel. Once you have compiled this list, research how much each project figures to cost you. This should give you an idea of how realistic each project is for you, and whether or not you will be able to tackle multiple projects in the coming year.

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