A great way to start living a frugal life is to plan for it. And when it comes to finances, the most important plan is a budget. Setting up a budget is possible no matter what you income, how you get paid, or what your current financial situation. Developing a budget is the first (and most crucial step) to becoming frugal. Here are some great tips on how to do it:
1. Write down your spending. You can't plan out how you will spend your money until you know how you are spending it at present. Carry around a small notebook for a month and write down every purchase you make. This will help you see how your money is disappearing.
2. Make a list of all your expenses and include the spending you have in your notebook along with any monthly bills that you might not have written down. Total up the categories that you have and the total spending as well.
3. Write out all of your income and how it arrives (monthly, weekly, bi-weekly). Total up your income.
4. Write out your budget (based on the last month that you recorded). Compare that budget with your income. If you have more going out than coming in, then it's time to make some changes. You can either cut your expenses or you can make more money.
5. Study your budget and even take a few days to really think about the items you have listed there. Make better choices. If you only watch your television once a week then cancel your cable. Save that money for something else. If you have so many clothes that you can't open your closet then determine to pass on the shopping for a while. Decide to choose a future instead of a fleeting present.
6. After you have cut all that you can cut, review your budget balances. If there is still a deficit, it's time to consider a second job (or a job change). The only way to balance a budget (and start saving money) is to bring in more than you spend.
7. Review your budget regularly. Your situation will continue to change and so should your budget. As you learn to live a frugal life, you may well find that items on your budget are no longer important to you and can be removed.
Originally found here