A weekly budget is a great way to know what you have available to use without dipping into your monthly bill money. The best way to maintain a personal weekly spending budget is to know where you spend your money and if you actually have those funds available to spend. When making your budget, be honest with yourself about how much you make, how much you spend and whether where you are spend your money is really necessary.
Make a list of what you spend money on in one week. It may include a daily coffee, lunch out, going to the movies, gasoline or even clothes shopping. Perhaps you have to pay for parking; whatever it is, include it.
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Write down the estimated amount of money you spend on each item on your list. Financial guru Jean Chatzky suggests breaking your expenses into two categories: fixed expenses and variable expenses. Fixed expenses include your parking pass or childcare. Variable expenses are the not-so-sure numbers for how much your lunches will cost or how much gasoline you need. Be accurate about these numbers, and don't underestimate.
Figure out how much money you actually have available to spend each week. This can be based on your monthly budget or just knowing how much you have left each month (after setting aside some savings) and dividing that amount by four.
Calculate the difference between the money you have to spend and the money you are spending. Hopefully, your available amount is more than the actual spending amount. If you are spending more than you have available, then action needs to be taken.
Decide if some of your expenses need to be cut down on or cut out completely. If there is a money deficit, consider which items you can live without and which you still need throughout the week. Dayana Yochim at The Motley Fool says to label different envelopes with your expenses and put in the amount of cash you think you'll need for each category. If the cash is gone, you're done eating out for the week. Just don't cheat.
The key to staying on your budget is self-discipline. Businessman and author Robert T. Kiyosaki notes, "It is the lack of self-discipline that causes most lottery winners to go broke soon after winning millions." Stick to your budget once you know how you are spending your money. Be strict with yourself if you have to, and know what you can afford to spend in the week and what you can't.
Surround yourself with friends and family that can support you in staying on track. Share your spending and savings goals with others, and they just might learn something about their own.
Vanity expenses, such as hair salons, manicures and clothing, should be the first to go if you find yourself hurting in your weekly budget. If you must cut your expenses, consider the different ways to reduce your spending. If you consistently are in the bookstore, consider using the library. Brew coffee at home rather than buying out. Pack lunch rather than dining out or going to a drive-through.
Let your weekly budget be a reflection of your finances. If you are unwilling to cut your weekly expenses despite a lack of funds, then more than likely you are also having trouble managing your monthly bills.