When you're living in a Chico or Redding rental property, the cost of living isn’t as astronomical as it is in the Bay Area. But if you're going to be leaving the nest and or moving to a different living situation, you still need to make a budget. Managing your money may seem like a difficult task but can be easy if done properly.
What you'll need
A budget is the most important piece to making responsible financial decisions. Start by deciding if you'll be using a computer to manage your finances or using a pencil and paper. There are different budgeting templates online and Microsoft Excel also comes with budgeting templates that are easy to use. But good old-fashioned pencil and paper is a reasonable option if you want to keep it simple. So decide which is right for you and move on to the next step!
Your monthly income is how much money you have going into your bank account every month. If your income varies per month, it can get a little tricky. At that point, it is important to budget with your lowest monthly income to ensure that you're still able to pay your monthly bills which includes paying rent on time. Write/type this number at the top of the page BIG and bold.
Now it's time to identify the monthly bills you pay that are deemed "necessities." Don't forget to include any debts you have, such as credit card payments or school loans. It's important to manage your debt while creating this budget. Skipping monthly payments will only make the future months harder.
Common monthly bills include rent, gas, electric, cable, internet, insurance (personal/car/apartment), food and transportation expenses. Write/type these out with the normal monthly payment amounts next to them.
These normally consist of money spent on entertainment, going out to dinner, those shoes on sale, or any other expenses that aren’t a requirement to live. Later, if you need to find a few expenses to eliminate in order to spend less monthly, then you might find a few of the necessary items aren’t that necessary. For example, maybe you decide to not have cable and just subscribe to online streaming which will be way cheaper. Write/type these out with the normal monthly payment amounts next to them.
Do the Math
Now for the fun part - doing the math. It's time to add all of the necessary and unnecessary expenses and subtract the total from your monthly income. If you have money left over then great! If not, it's time to adjust the amount of money you spend on your unnecessary expenses. Or if you haven’t signed a lease yet, you can look at less expensive rental properties in Chico or Redding.