If you are new to budgeting start with goals that you can achieve in a short timeframe. This is by far the best advice I can give you.
- Stop using your credit card(s) until the balance is paid off. Then use it more as a convenience than a means of increasing debt. Use my free excel spreadsheet to help you free excel spreadsheet to help you eliminate your debt.
- Pay off high interest loans and credit cards first.
- After you pay off a loan pay that amount back to yourself through your budget. Start a vacation fund, and a emergency savings fund.
- Review your budget at least twice a month to see where you are.
- Do not forget to set aside money for bills that come on an annual or quarterly basis (like automobile tabs, pet licenses).
- Save a little for Christmas throughout the year.
- Come up with a formal plan to payoff your credit card debt and start it asap.
- Make an extra mortgage payment a year. You will save some money in taxes by doing this and will pay off your home quicker (About 13 years early for a 30 year mortgage). Use my free excel spreadsheet to help you track your mortgage(es)..
- Pretend when you make your budget that you only have 90% of your net income available. Take the remaining 10% and apply it to retirement funds like a (401k, or a Roth IRA.)
- Your food budget is a great source for potential savings. But make sure you are eating healthy.
- The discretionary income you spend during the workday is a great potential source of savings!
- Those ad-hoc trips to the corner store can cost you an arm and a leg.