Building a Budget in Your Gainesville Apartment

Building a budget is a smart way to keep control of your finances and get money set aside for your goals. Most people think that this process is just a boring number crunching exercise, but there are several ways to make budgeting fun and interesting. With a little bit of time and creativity, you can make taking control of your finances easy.

All good budgets start with information. Start saving every receipt or payment confirmation you get for a month and sort them into two groups, “required” and “optional.” Basics such as the rent for your Gainesville apartment, utility bills, loan or credit card payments, groceries, prescription medication, and other necessary expenses you have to meet should go into the required pile, while everything else goes into optional. Figure out the percentage of your income taken up by required-pile receipts and you’ll have a good idea of how much money you can afford to spend on other items. Be sure to factor in 3-5% extra for unexpected expenses, such as higher power bills during warmer months, or emergency car trips that may burn extra gas.

Next, organize your optional pile based on the type of activity. Eating out, movies/music/video games, and TV/Internet are all good categories you can start from. Figure out what percentage of your disposable money you spend in each of these categories. Computer spreadsheets are excellent ways to organize this information, but writing it all out on paper can work well, too. Either way, be sure to store your budget in a safe place where you’ll be able to access it easily.

With this information, you can start planning your future spending. Use the percentages to estimate how much you will spend on each category in your budget and develop a hierarchy of where money will come from when it runs out. For example, if you budget $50/month for eating out, but end up spending $60, you’ll want to know ahead of time which category you’ll spend less on to compensate. One way to help keep yourself interested and motivated in sticking to your budget is to make a “thermometer” style graph to track how much of each part of your budget you’ve spent or how much you’ve saved toward a particular goal.

These tips can help make managing your finances much clearer and less stressful. For more tips on apartment living, you can browse the other articles on Bellamay Grand’s website. And, to find out about our available units, contact us today.

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