Monthly budget calculatorBY Robert Graham
You can also use the calculator in full screen.
Free budget calculator
This is a great place to get started visualizing and understanding your monthly budget. It isn’t important to make the most complete or the best budget possible the first time out. It’s critical to just get started.
Getting started with budgeting
We have a section on our budget templates page for getting started that can help you build up your confidence and skills, but if you do only one thing today make sure you punch in the numbers you do know and make a list of what you’re not sure about. It helps to have a tool like this calculator or a spreadsheet to handle the math, but you do need to make sure you’re keeping track of your expenses or your budget will be like a leaky boat.
Budgeting is about goals
Whether you’re budgeting for a family, for retirement, or just to start a positive habit you need to have some goals to make sure you keep at it. Is there a vacation or a purchase you want to begin saving for? Would you like to map out a way to buy a home with a comfortable downpayment? Budgeting can help you do that. It can help you learn a lot more about your finances and saving your hard-earned money.
Start with a percentage concept
I like the 50/30/20 budget if you need a starting point for how to divide your finances and you’re new to budgeting. 50% of your total budget (or thereabouts) should be devoted to needs like groceries, housing, utilities, insurance, transportation, etc. 30% of your total budget should be things you want like shopping, hobbies, restaurant dining, etc. 20% of your budget should be savings. This is a comfortable and reasonable place to start.
Ignore advice that isn’t helpful for you
It is easy to give advice about money and there is plenty to be had, but you can safely discard most of it. Keep the ideas and approaches that work for you. Life is a journey and money is not the end in itself. Neither is a budget. We don’t get up in the morning to grind on a budget spreadsheet…well most of us don’t. Find a method and approach that you enjoy and works for you.