Taking the time to do a budget is something that can benefit you in a variety of different ways. Read on to find out how.

Every year, millions of people celebrate the holiday season and set for themselves a New Year’s resolution. Most people, even with the best of intentions, never succeed with their resolutions. If you are looking for a resolution that you can succeed in keeping that can be of benefit you in many different ways then I have a suggestion for you.

My suggestion is that you do a household budget. (For many people your personal budget is your household budget)

Most people have never done a detailed budget and with the impact that stress can have on our lives and our health there are a number of benefits to getting started.

Did you know that finances are a top ten cause of stress?

Did you know that financial strains can also negatively impact our health and personal relationships, with these being two of the other top ten causes of stress.

Doing your personal budget is the first step towards taking control of your finances and reaping more benefits than you probably ever realized.

This might take a couple of hours so make sure you set aside enough time, early in January, and succeed in completing your New Year’s resolution.

You’ll need a few things to help get you started, including:

– Income details (pay stubs, tax assessment, child tax benefit, OAS, CPP, pension amounts, etc.)
– Bank statements
– Credit card statements
– Paper, pen and calculator (you can use a computer but these other items will still help)

You then need to figure out what your fixed expenses and variable expenses are.

Fixed expenses are expenses that are the same every month and are not easily changed such as rent or mortgage, car payment, cell phone and so on.

Variable expenses are expenses that change every month, or can easily be adjusted, such as groceries, gas, gifts and so on.

If you’re looking for a simple guide to help you along the way there are lots on the internet and in book stores. Gail Vaz-Oxlade has a helpful guide along with plenty of other helpful information on her website.

If you get stuck don’t get frustrated, get help.

Congratulations, once you’ve completed your budget you will have succeeded in not only completing your New Year’s resolution but in taking the first step towards financial security and relieving yourself of unwanted stress.

 

Sean R. Stack, MBA, CIRP                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Trustee in Bankruptcy