During a time of extreme financial difficulty, it is important to keep a good eye on one’s expenses. One way of creatively doing this is to take a piece of paper and draw some pictures of the different areas that demands funds. These things can be food, gas, and bills. For example, one can draw a picture of a car in the top right hand corner of the paper. Within the car, the cost of the payment can be placed in it. This may include the payment, gas, insurance, and maintenance. Another area of expense can be entertainment which can go into the lower corner. Next, take a sticky note with the amount to cover the cost of the car. Make notes about how much each item will cost for the continued use of the vehicle. Reminders can be added to the sticky note such as specific maintenance needed and mileage. Draw a picture of the car on the sticky note too. Copy this for other areas of financial need. Once one item is paid off, the sticky note can be removed to expose the picture beneath it. Place the whole budget somewhere one can see it like on the refrigerator so that it is visible on a daily basis. It will be good practice to view it every day.
Another way this can be done is to take a bar graph and measure how much one’s expenses are and write the items in the bar. Make the bar vertical or lateral based on preference and color it red. Each expense can be measured out in the red bar of the total amount or in smaller, individual bars. Next make another bar but color it green. This is the income that the individual has which can be placed above the red bar. The goal is to make sure that the green bar is longer than the red bar. As an added activity, one can attempt to increase the green bar and decrease the red one by using the Archer method of increasing savings. The secondary goal is to take the extra on the green bar and put into savings. This can be indicated by a blue bar. As a tertiary goal, this can be a good visual beginning for a budget or keep it going for the whole month and see where one’s money is going towards.
For those who are English majors, one can write out all of the expenses in a paragraph form instead of as a list. To better describe how this is done, each item on one’s expense list can be written in a sentence with proper wording. Keep a daily journal of what was spent and what was funds that was earned will be a reminder to those who read it. Highlighting the amount with red and green markers can be of visual spectacular. Attempt to write a page worth of the budget on a one page, double spaced, with one-inch margins. The style can be determined by the individual.
Make sure your income covers your expenses.