Starting a Budget

You do not need a budget to get by unless you are a compulsive spender. That said, I like to have a budget. You do not need a budget because you are already investing automatically. As long as you don’t touch that, you are fine for the future. Living paycheck to paycheck means that you are spending more than you can afford and you need to spend less, not necessarily earn more.

I use finance site Mint.com for my budgeting needs. I started my first budget when gas prices started rising. I decided that I was going to cap my gas spending, and my budget grew from there. Here is my first budget:


My first budget was simple. $120 per month for gas. That would be about a tank a week at the time. I also set a budget of $0 for bank fees. Mint would send a warning e-mail if that ever went above zero.

Over time, my budget developed. Here is my budget for October:


Now it is your turn. Since you are already on Mint, it will be easy to setup a budget. Just click on the “+Add Budget” button to set your first budget amount. My budget is a living financial tool that changes from month to month with my needs. Since I set my budget, I follow it. The leftovers go into my savings.