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Budgets for Beginners: Getting Started

There is one simple rule that often comes up when it comes to being smart with your finances and that’s budgeting. Making a budget will help you keep track where your money goes (including savings).

Budgets for Beginners Getting StartedBudgets can help ensure that you will be able to put money in your bank account and give you a spending limit, which is important at any age.

In 2019, conducted a survey of more than 1,000 Americans and about 67% indicated they had a household budget. They also found that younger adults were budgeting more than older individuals (74% of 23-38 year-olds had a budget, where 67% of 39-54 year-olds and 67% of 55 and older).

Budgeting includes four major steps.

  1. Identify financial goals
  2. Add up your income for the month
  3. Determine your expenses are for the month making sure to include savings as an expense
  4. Balance your income and expenses and determine if any adjustments need to be made in your budget

Creating and sticking with a budget can be difficult. Spending can be different every month, but you need to start with your personal financial goals. Use your budget as a road map for how you spend your income.

Make sure you are saving some money and pay yourself first to make sure you are prepared for an emergency that may arise (Ex: car problems, medical bills). No one wants to end up in debt so starting a budget earlier rather than later is the way to go. Having a budget can also show you what your bad spending habits are, or where you could possibly cut expenses to make your money stretch further.

There are different types of budgets. There is a 30-day budget, envelope budget, 50-20-30 budget, paycheck budget, and more. There are even apps to help you create and maintain a budget. Finding the one that works for you may take a little patience and experimentation.


Julia Fabijanic, undergraduate student / Human Development and Family Science

Carrie Johnson, Ph.D., AFC, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor  /  Human Development and Family Science


Want to learn more about budgets?

Budget Like a Boss  Using Envelopes to Track Expenses  Budget Boss Tracker

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