Easy 7-Step Budget Plan
Learning how to create a budget for truck drivers is a 7 step process that lays out a realistic budgeting plan. I’ll also lay out the reasons why every trucker should have a financial plan. It seems a lot of people become uneasy when contemplating the budgeting of their money. The “B” word has caused more than it’s fair share of skirmishes in households across the country. A budget allows you to take control of your money instead of money controlling you. We have an emotional attachment to money. When we spend on the things we want, it makes us feel happy. But when we spend money we know we shouldn’t, it can cause feelings of anxiety, anger and depression. Creating a budget allows us to make a plan for where to spend money. It’s the road map that every trucker should use to maximize the impact of each paycheck.
Step 1 – Research Spending Habits
The first step in creating a road map to responsible spending and saving money, is to analyze how, where and what you’ve spent money in the last 30 days. This is the research phase of creating a personal budget. For one month, keep track of every dollar you spend. Start by gathering all of your bank statements, utility bills, and all receipts. Make notes so you can remember where you spent money.
Step 2 – Determine Take Home Pay
Step 2 of the budgeting process is figuring out your take home pay for the month. Use pay stubs to determine your after tax income. Remember, this is the money paid to you after all the federal, state and local taxes are deducted from your pay. Remember to include all of your income. If you have a roommate that pays you rent or a steady weekend job mowing lawns, include that in your income.
Step 3 – Make List of Expenses
The 3rd step in the budget plan is to make a list of all of your monthly expenses from the bills and receipts you gathered in step 1. Try to account for nearly every dollar you spent in the last month so you have the most accurate picture of your normal spending habits.
Step 4 – Categorize The List of Expenses
In step 4, you need to divide the expense list from step 3 into two categories, fixed or variable. Fixed expenses are monthly expenses that occur regularly every month and are the same amount, like rent, a car payment or cable TV bill. Variable expenses might not be the same amount every month. That might be gas, food or entertainment expenses.
Step 5 – Add Up All Expenses & Income
Step 5 is to total (add up) all expenses in each category. Also get a total for your monthly income (from step 2). The goal is to make sure your expenses are not greater than your income. It also should allow you to create a dollar amount to save each month. A balanced budget creates a healthy road map for your financial wellness.
Step 6 – Analyze Spending
The 6th step is to analyze your spending habits and make adjustments. If you spend more than you make in a given month, you need to adjust your spending habits. Tough decisions may need to be made. The first place to look is at your discretionary spending on things you don’t HAVE to have, like eating dinner out 5 times a week. If you’re spending $400 a month eating at restaurants, consider a budget of $200 and buy groceries to save money on meals. As you make adjustments, ask yourself “what do I absolutely HAVE to have and what could I spend less on?” It will take some work and self-discipline to create a budget you can live with.
Step 7 – Review Budget Plan Monthly
Step 7 of creating a budget is a monthly review of your budget goals. Your budget is personalized and unique to you. Life changes and expenses change over time. By carefully reviewing your financial situation each month, you can make adjustments when necessary.
Using a budget is required to take control of your money and your financial success. By understanding where you’ve spent money in the past and what your current obligations are, you can plan for the future. A budget is a road map to help you spend money wisely. Creating a budget helps you curb bad spending habits. You determine where and how much of your money you will spend. Making small improvements to way you spend money sets you up for future financial success.