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How Do I

Create a budget

If you want to control your spending and save for your financial goals, a budget will help. Creating a workable budget gives you the tools to make sure you are not spending yourself into debt each month. It's less complicated than you might think.

Step 1: Calculate your income

To start your budget, make a list of your income streams. This includes your paycheck(s), along with any other money you receive from freelance work, disability, alimony, or any other monthly earnings.

Step 2: Create a list of your expenses

A budget typically includes both fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses are consistent payments, like housing, car loans, and student loans. Variable expenses change each month and could include the money you spend on groceries, gas, clothing, and bills.

Step 3: Track your spending

Take a look at your most recent account statements, preferably from at least the last 3 months. Once you see where you're spending your money, put your spending into categories. This makes it easier to look at reducing spending in specific categories.

Step 4: Make adjustments to your spending

Now that you see where your money is going, you can adjust certain categories. Be realistic! Include money for going to the movies, dining out, and special occasions. Your budget should also include dollars reserved to build an emergency fund. That's important because if an emergency does happen you will not have to go into debt to take care of it. You should also adjust your budget regularly. Any changes to income or expenses should be factored into your budget.

Step 5: Monitor your budget

You should make adjustments accordingly. Any changes to income or expenses should be factored into your budget. With MoneyView, Metro's money management tool, you'll get insight into all of your accounts to help you understand what you're spending and how you can be saving money.