How do I start? Written on a notepad with colored pencils.

How To Start Budgeting

November 01, 2023

What Is A Budget?

A budget is simply your plan for your money.

Make A Budget In 6 Steps

You just signed up for Ploutos Budget; now what? You are a busy person, so we won't waste any more of your time. Let's get right into setting up your budget.

Step 1: Add Your Accounts

Whether you choose to have your account in Ploutos Budget linked with their financial institution or not, the first step we need to do is add our spending accounts with their balances. In Ploutos Budget, we only budget the money we currently have and don't budget based on what we expect to earn this month. Our budget is our plan for all of our spending, so it needs to reflect the current reality.

Step 2: List Your Expenses

Ploutos Budget, by default, will start you off with some categories to get you started. You can add, edit, delete, and reorder the categories to perfectly suit your needs. Whether you like your budget with a lot of specific categories or you want to keep it more general, the choice is yours. Organize your categories based on your expenses and your priorities.

Step 3: Set Your Goals

The goal for each category is how much you would like or how much you plan to contribute to that category this month. Your goals are used to help you plan your month and where to put your money as more money becomes available. Your total goals for the month should not be more than you make in a month. Just remember that your goals don't actually affect your budget in any way; they are just a tool to help you plan out your future money when it becomes available to you.

Step 4: Give Every Dollar A Job

We sum up all of your current money in your checking and savings account; we then subtract any credit card balances as this money is already spent. The money remaining is our available dollars to budget. Assign these dollars to your categories based on the goals that you set. Keep in mind when you will need this money. If you need grocery money on the 15th of the month, then you need to allocate those dollars before then. Our goal is to have our money allocated to the category before it is needed, not just by the end of the month. Some categories we may need the money for every month, and some categories may be sinking funds that we are saving up for, so those can just be funded before the end of the month.

Whether you are starting in the middle of the month or at the beginning doesn't matter. Just assign your dollars based on your upcoming priorities. Every time you get more money into your budget, just repeat this process of allocating your dollars based on your goals and upcoming priorities.

Step 5: Track Your Expenses

If you link your accounts in Ploutos Budget with their financial institutions, these transactions will show up in your budget, just needing to be categorized by you. If you do not have them linked, you just need to add your transactions to your budget every time you spend money. This is how we keep our category balances accurate, so we know how much money we have to spend in each category.

Step 6: Reconcile Your Budget

At least once a month, and before moving on to the next month, you need to verify that your account balances in Ploutos Budget match what your bank says the balances are. By doing this, we can have confidence that our budget is accurate and reflects reality.

The best way to get better at budgeting is to just start. Hopefully, this quick guide will help you get up and running today with your budget. If you would like a more detailed step-by-step guide on how to get started, check out one of our Getting Started guides below.

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