Just say the word “budget” and people change the subject. Their eyes glaze over.
Budgets are useful for personal and business purposes and don’t have to be some giant detailed document that rules your life. It’s a guide; a plan; and it’s certainly not cast in stone. A budget reflects what you think/hope/want to happen. It can help you make decisions – whether to spend or not your money, look for another or additional job, or raise your prices.
Let’s create a quick budget. Grab a piece of paper.
Write down all your fixed expenses for the month. Examples would be rent, insurance, utilities, software subscriptions, loan payments, etc. Include amounts put aside for equipment purchases and taxes.
Now write down your best estimate for your variable monthly costs. These would be merchant and/or bank fees, independent contractor fees, continuing education, office supplies, salaries and travel expenses.
Total up all those numbers you just wrote down. That’s your “break even” point; how much you have to sell just to keep the doors open. Now add in how much the business should be paying you each month (if not already added in above).
If nothing else, just writing down a quick budget like this can quickly streamline and prioritize your to do list.
Take a look at your accounting software to see if it has a budget feature. If it does, enter the numbers from the budget you just created. This will allow you to run budget versus actual income statements which can be very helpful. And don’t be afraid to change your budget. It’s a tool, not a ball and chain.