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Part 24 – Making a Monthly Budget


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

There’s no getting around it: in marriage, a budget is a requirement for good money management. A budget is simply (1) a tool to increase your consciousness of how and where you spend your money, and (2) a guideline to help you spend your money on the things that are most important to you. Following a budget can create money for savings, where you thought there was none.

Take a few minutes to fill out the following budgeting worksheet:

Basic Budgeting Worksheet____________________________________________________________________________

Total Monthly Gross Income

$______________

- Taxes, Health Ins. & Other Payroll Deductions

$__________

- Savings, 401(k), etc.

$__________

= Total Monthly ‘Spendable’ Income

$______________

____________________________________________________________________________

Housing Expenses

Monthly Payments

Rent or Mortgage

$__________

Utilities

$__________

Insurance (set $ aside each month if paid annually)

$__________

Repairs (set $ aside for future expenses)

$__________

Taxes (set $ aside if paid annually)

$__________

= Total

$__________

Transportation Expenses

Auto Loan Payment(s)

$__________

Gasoline/Public Transportation

$__________

Auto Insurance (set $ aside if paid annually)

$__________

Auto Maintenance & Repairs (set $ aside for future expenses)

$__________

= Total

$__________

Debts

Creditor #1_____________ Balance_________

$__________

Creditor #2_____________ Balance_________

$__________

Creditor #3_____________ Balance_________

$__________

Creditor #4_____________ Balance_________

$__________

(figure more on back if needed)

= Total

$__________

Miscellaneous

(Set $ aside each month for annual expenses.)

Tzedakah and Other Charitable Contributions

$__________

Groceries, Lunches, Meals Out

$__________

School Tuition/Supplies

$__________

Unreimbursed Medical Bills and Co-pays

$__________

Prescriptions, Non-Prescription Medicines

$__________

$__________

$__________

Club Dues (Homeowner’s Assoc., Fitness, etc.)

$__________

Newspaper, Magazine Subscriptions

$__________

Clothing

$__________

Haircuts, Sheitel Purchase and Maintenance

$__________

Gifts

$__________

Spending Money

$__________

Other (continue on back if needed)

$__________

= Total

$__________

Monthly Expense Totals

Housing

$__________

Now that you’ve figured out your monthly income and expenses, you can start to determine how much you have left over for savings. Simply subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly income to find out how much surplus money you have coming in each month. While you don’t need to put aside this exact amount for saving each month, this figure can help give you a rough idea of how much you can afford to save.

If your monthly expenses turn out to be larger than your income, then it may be a good time to figure out ways to reduce your expenses and keep your spending more in line with your income. While many financial experts suggest that your expenses should work out to 60 percent of your total income, the reality is that for most families and individuals, this is not the case.

Just because you have a surplus, doesn’t mean it’s time to rush out and buy the newest iPod. Figuring out your surplus income is the perfect opportunity to initiate a good savings plan.

Keep Good Records

While writing out your budget on a piece of scrap paper once every year or so may seem like the easiest way to go, it is wiser to keep a continuing record of your expenses, income and savings somewhere that is permanent and can be easily updated. While software programs such as Quicken can make it easy for you to manage your personal finances on the computer, something as simple as a personal ledger or notebook can be just as effective for keeping tabs of your budget.

Pick a time each month to organize your finances, keep a record of your income and expenses for the month, and update your budget. While you don’t need to keep receipts for every single purchase you make, try to at least keep ones from purchases over $20. Keeping good records will allow you to adjust your budget over time to better reflect your financial situation. In general, the more accurate your budget becomes, the easier it will be to manage your money.

The heart of any good financial plan for your marriage is a comprehensive, thorough and accurate budget. Not only can it help you keep track of where your money goes each month, it can also help let you know how much money you can afford to set aside for a rainy day. You don’t have to be an accountant in order to put together a successful budget. All you need is a little time and a desire to be responsible with your finances. But the most important thing to remember is that your budget won’t work unless you stick to it.
Next week, Part 25, Learning to be Content

 

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the Executive Director of Shalom Task Force and author of a “First Aid for Jewish Marriages.” To order a copy, visit www.JewishMarriageSupport.com. For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, LMFT is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, treating anxiety and depression, and helping teens in crisis with offices For more information visit www.JewishMarriageSupport.com, e-mail rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com or call 646-428-4723.


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