How Do I Budget to Pay Monthly Bills?

by Rick Suttle, Demand Media Google

    Creating a budget to pay monthly bills requires scrutinizing your income and expenditures. Now that you’ve tied the knot, you've also taken on added expenses. Start analyzing your monthly expenses by looking at your credit card statements and checkbook. Look for purchases that you made that were unnecessary or a bit extravagant, like the$150 dinner with wine at the local steakhouse. You’ll need to start trimming these types of expenses to meet your bills.

    Items you will need

    • Pay stubs
    • Monthly billing statements
    • List of monthly expenses
    • Budgeting software

    Step 1

    Take out both your and your significant other's pay stubs. Calculate how much money you both net per month. Add any income that you earn from a part-time business.

    Step 2

    Make a list of expenses from both of your checkbooks and credit card statements. Divide your expenses into fixed and variable expenses. Write down all fixed expenses, such as a car payment, insurance or your mortgage, which stay the same each month. Make a list of all variable expenses like electricity and water bills, which vary each month. Calculate both your fixed and variable expenses, and then total up the two categories.

    Step 3

    Subtract all of your expenses from your total monthly income. Write down that amount as your disposable income.

    Step 4

    Start examining your monthly bills if your disposable income is negative, or if you need more money at the end of the month. Make sure you have accounted for occasional medical or car-repair bills. Study how much you both have spent on car repairs and medical bills the past year. Come up with an average monthly expenditure for car and medical bills, and then add it to your total variable expenses.

    Step 5

    Enter your monthly income and expenditures using the budgeting software on your computer. Use Quicken or Money Strands budgeting software (see Resources) because they're both relatively user-friendly. Enter variable and fixed expenses in the appropriate spaces. Look for wide variances in spending, then think of how you can cut those particularly expenses. Slash back on entertainment, for example, if the software recommends that you spend no more than 10 percent of your income on entertainment and you’re spending 25 percent. Write down all expenses for which you are exceeding the recommendations of the budgeting software.

    Step 6

    Decide how much you and your spouse can cut from you excessive expenses. Lower your entertainment expenses from $600 per month to $200, if necessary. Create a new monthly budget that includes the newly-lowered amounts for your excessive expenditures.

    Step 7

    Stick to your monthly budget. Examine your monthly expenditures every week to make sure you're staying on track.

    Tip

    • Get a part-time job if you’re still having trouble meeting your monthly bills with the new budget. You may have a car that will be paid off in five months. Work a few extra hours per week until you can pay off your car. Check for other bills that you can pay off sooner. Also, shop around for new car insurance, for example, to save $20 or $30 per month.

    About the Author

    Rick Suttle has been writing professionally since 2009, covering health and business for various online and print publications. He has worked in corporate marketing research and as a copywriter. Suttle holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Miami University and a Master of Business Administration from California Coast University. He is author of the novels "Hell Year" and "Suicide Peak."