Tips for making your first budget

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A couple weeks ago I got a message from a reader on my Facebook page. 

I am not going to share the message because some of the details were personal:

But basicaly this sweet young lady was telling me she was about to enter the workforce for the first time. And she was saving up money for college, a car and to get an apartment. 

All worthy goals. 

But her frustration was in the fact that she was overwhelmed by the budgeting process. Oh boy, do I understand that. 

Budgeting can be frustrating and overwhelming. And even though my Jason and I are not novices when it comes to a budget, we still feel overwhelmed and get off track sometimes

I assured her she wasn't alone and told her to not get discouraged if her first few budgets didn't look so good. Just keep practicing. 

But, here are some things to remember when making your first budget. 

1. Set your priorities. Giving, saving and paying your bills are a priority. 

Paying your bills is an obligation. You've made an agreement with that company to pay them in return for the services you are using or have use. 

Giving is of the utmost importance because we live in a world in need

And saving is paramount because you need to have money for things like college, cars and your future. 

2. Pay yourself first! This goes with number 1. Jason and I are Christians, we believe in tithing our first fruits. But we also believe in paying ourselves. So before we budget for other things we set aside money to go in our savings account. 

Some months this is less than others. And there have been months when emergencies and other expenses arose and we couldn't save. But those months are few and far between now that we are debt free

I once heard a tip - and I think this is great advice- pay yourself the first hour of each day that you work. 

So if you're working and getting paid $10 an hour then pay yourself $50 a week. That money goes into savings. It's not for treats. It's not for shopping. It's for savings!

3. But also set a little aside for fun. Of course paying your bills and saving are at the top of your list. But set aside a little (little!) money each month for something fun. If that is just $20 a month to go to a movie or $10 a month to grab a cup of coffee with a girl friend, do that. If you don't budget for fun you will burn out and I don't want that to happen for you!

4. Don't forget the little things! When making your budget don't forget to budget for the little things like an oil change, a hair cut or whatever small things you have to pay for. The little things add up and become big things. So try to make your budget as detailed as possible. 

My grandfather once told me: Take care of your money and when you're old it will take care of you. It's important advice to remember. 

What advice would you give to someone just beginning to budget?