In this June 15, 2018 file photo, twenty dollar bills are counted in North Andover, Mass. Rising prices can feel impossible to manage if money is already tight. To stay afloat, prioritize essential expenses that enable you to live and work. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Establishing a budget is a rock solid way to avoid financial mistakes. Budgeting isn’t about restricting your spending, it’s about allocating your money to your most important priorities.

Life is getting expensive. Stay on top of your finances will help ensure that your emergency savings is covered and bills are paid (on time) so that you can have a stress free time planning your future.

Are you ready for the challenge? Here are 5 tips you can use to create an easy budget


Use the SMART goals method:

  • Specific. Do you know what you want to save for?
  • Measurable. What amount from your paycheck will be enough to save?
  • Achievable. Can I achieve this goal?
  • Realistic. Is the money I bring in enough to achieve this or am I dreaming?
  • Time-bound. How long will this take me?


Make a spreadsheet of all of your expenses… EVERYTHING! Organizes them by categories to have a clear view of your fixed and versus variable expenses. Look for ways to save and cut back on non-essentials.


Figure out how much money you want to put aside weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, and just set it and forget it. Keep it out of sight and out of mind. Split your paycheck and transfer a portion of it into your saving account.


High interest accounts are a smart way to earn more interest on your automated savings. Your savings account is based on compound interest. This interest is usually calculated using the annual percentage yield (APY) (amount of money your account earns in one year, including compound interest).


Credit cards can be a positive if used strategically. But if you are struggling to withhold from swiping then use the envelope system and pull out the budgeted amount of money for those categories. Once the cash runs out, no more spending!

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...