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How to Create a Budget

Today, with more financial obligations and many financial options, money management may seem difficult and confusing at times. There’s a way to make life’s financial challenges less complicated. Create a budget.

  • Begin by keeping track of all of your expenses for one month, including everything from monthly bills to a movie and dinner. Get in the habit of saving your receipts and keep a record of each day’s expenses.
  • Whether it’s on your computer or on paper, you will need to make a list of all money going out and coming in. Separate all of your expenses into categories. For example: one category could be "fixed monthly expenses" – that’s all the bills or commitments you have to pay each month. You’ll also need to add in other living expenses like groceries, gas and car maintenance, doctor appointments, and other necessaries. A movie and dinner out could be another category called "recreation or entertainment".
  • Subtract your fixed monthly expenses from your monthly take home pay and any other money coming in to determine your disposable pay. The next step is your opportunity to make decisions that can help further improve your financial health. The money you have left over can be put into savings for your future or for any emergencies that might occur or, you may decide to pay off a debt early. Don’t forget to also set aside a reasonable amount for entertainment; that coffee in the morning on the way to work or a baby sitter to have an evening to yourself.
  • Make a plan and stick to it. There are a number of convenient payment services at VyStar to help you with your monthly commitments. You can make most payments online via our free Internet Banking Bill Payer service; set up Automatic Funds Transfer Service (AFTS) for your VyStar loans; or use our other free bill paying services like Easy Pay and Pay My Bill for your credit cards.
  • Create a monthly timeline of all your fixed expenses. Check them off as you pay them throughout the month. A well-designed, realistic spending plan is the most important step to take in your journey to reach your financial goals.

Set up a budget with BALANCE

If you're not completely comfortable with your spending plan, or would like some guidance with this or other financial issues, consider a free and confidential money management counseling session with a BALANCE® counselor. Appointments are available weekdays, evenings, and weekends. The average counseling session lasts approximately one hour, and there is no limit on the number of sessions you may have.

Visit for more information. Or, speak to a BALANCE financial counselor in person.

1-888-456-2227 (call toll free)

Make an appointment today:
Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.;
Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and
Saturday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST)

Your BALANCE® Financial Counselors are qualified to discuss general money management, credit and housing topics including goal setting, spending and savings plans, credit and credit reports, debt management, buying a first home, mortgage delinquency and foreclosure prevention. Each session is goal oriented and results in a written action plan clearly outlining the steps you and your counselor decide to take in order to establish personal financial control.