Tips to Create a Budget

America Saves Week, an annual event sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America, is Feb. 24 to March 1. In these tough economic times, it is more important than ever for families to develop a budget and stick to it. Rainy-day funds, savings for college or just making your rent payment can all be made easier with a budget.

Putting together a household budget requires time and effort. Iowa State Bank offers the following steps to create a budget:

Be a Spending Sleuth. Track every penny you spend for a month. Keep receipts and write everything down. This will be an eye-opening experience and will help you see where you can cut back.

Count Your Money. Determine the total amount of money coming in. Include only your take home pay (your salary minus taxes and deductions). Your income may also include tips, child support, investment income, etc.

Itemize, Categorize, Organize. Review the records and receipts you’ve been collecting over the last month. Categorize your spending using a budget sheet.

Set a goal. Set a realistic financial goal and develop your budget to achieve that goal. Subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly income. Find ways to cut spending and set limits on things such as entertainment expenses.

Save, Save, Save. Make one of your financial goals to save a certain dollar amount each month. Start an emergency fund if you don’t already have one. You never know when you may need it.

Stick to it. Keep track of your spending every month. Update your budget as expenses or incomes change. Once you achieve your financial goal, set another.

These tips are provided by Iowa State Bank in partnership with the Iowa Bankers Association. If you have specific questions, contact your local banker at Iowa State Bank. Iowa State Bank is an Equal Opportunity Lender. Member FDIC.

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