Have you ever reached the end of the month and realized you were out of money? It happens to a lot of us. And when it does, it means you need a budget.

Now, before you roll your eyes, hear me out: there is a better – and easier – way to budget your money than you’ve been taught. 

There are 4 simple ways to budget that work for anyone – no matter how much or how little money you make. 

Put these 4 tips to use and you’ll find your financial situation improves. 

1. Keep Your Income over Your Expenses

When it comes to finding ways to budget money, the place to start is with a clear picture of your financial situation.

That means you have to know how much money you have coming in each month. 

First, figure out your income (this would include wages, tips, side hustles etc).

Then, list your necessary expenses each month. Your list should include all required expenses, such as car payments, rent or mortgage, credit card payments, food, gas, and utilities. 

Now, total up your required expenses for each month and subtract it from your monthly income.

You may be surprised by how much money you have left over. Where does all that extra money go?

Many of us are living beyond our means because we do not monitor our discretionary spending. Little purchases here and there (grabbing a drink with friends, an Amazon purchase, the occasional coffee) are often the culprit behind the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

Keep an eye on your discretionary spending. More on that coming up. 

2. Save Money with Free Apps

There are a few apps and services that offer free money. Here are some of our favorite cash back apps and services (they are all free to use):

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  • Capital One Shopping: Even when you’re living on next to nothing, you still got to buy stuff online. The free Capital One Shopping browser extension is a great way to save money. Capital One Shopping finds valid coupon codes at check out, and it price-checks other online retailers to help you find a lower price. You can also earn free gift cards with loyalty credits. Get the Capital One Shopping browser today.
  • Dosh: If you want to put cash-back rewards on autopilot, then Dosh is the app you want. Link your credit and debit cards, and you automatically earn cash-back rewards at participating retailers. It truly is that easy. Download the free Dosh app and watch the cash dash in.
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3. Track Discretionary Spending

A great way to budget your money is to only track discretionary spending. 

You don’t need to track your necessary expenses. That money will be spent regardless of a budget. (Not to mention, people find traditional budgeting overwhelming because there is simply so much to keep track of.)

Instead, create one budget and track only discretionary spending. 

Tracking doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as simple as scribbling in a pocket notepad, jotting them down in a free app, or using the cash-based envelope system (more on that next).

The point is to track your discretionary spending.

Free Workshop – Join our free Simplify Money Workshop

The *only* way to save money is to spend less than you earn. That means you need to decrease your expenses or increase your income.

We want to help you do both.

Join our FREE Simplify Money Workshop to learn the fundamentals of growing wealth. Because when you can spend less than you earn, your money has no choice but to grow. You will build your savings and pay down debt. 

What’s more? We’ve got a bunch of free money-hacks to share with you:

  • Hacks to lower your monthly bills
  • Hacks to spend less on debt
  • Hacks to start investing
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This workshop has everything you need to accomplish the cardinal rule of personal finance: keep your income over your expenses.

Join our free 5-day Simplify Money Workshop, and start growing your wealth today.

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4. Use a Cash-Based Envelope System

A credit card can go into debt. Cash cannot.

Try using the cash-based envelope system to budget your discretionary spending. If all of your discretionary spending is done with cash, then you can’t overspend. 

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You can even divide your discretionary cash into different categories (eating out, entertainment, clothing, etc.). 

When you buy coffee for $10, you take the cash out of the “coffee” envelope. When your envelope is empty, it means no more coffee for the rest of the month. 

The same idea works for the rest of your discretionary spending envelopes.

The envelope system helps you establish limits to your spending so you never overspend.

Pro Tip: Let your discretionary spending be a rollover budget. Whatever money is not spent gets rolled over to the next month giving you more money to spend. This strategy allows you to save for bigger purchases.

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Start Budgeting and Boost Your Finances Today!

Now is the time to start budgeting and start boosting your finances.

These 3 tips are a straightforward way to take control of your finances and improve them.

  • Identify your expenses and income. Know where your money is going.
  • Stop tracking everything. Focus on tracking your discretionary spending
  • Stop using cards when shopping and go full cash mode. Embrace the cash-based envelope system for all your discretionary spending.

You got this!

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