Do you really have a budget?

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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Budget: the buzzword of every conversation around becoming an independent individual. Many people think a budget is just a list of numbers that pertains to the amount of money that you are required to spend on bills. In truth, a budget is a promise and accountability to yourself and your bank account. Many people want to find new and effective ways to budget but there is no “right” way to do it. 

The first thing that comes in any budget though, is collecting all your receipts for about a month (past receipts count) and figuring out where you spend the most money. After figuring out where most of your money is going and where you feel you can cut spending, move on to one of these tools.

The Binder Method

This method is pretty labor-intensive. When using the binder method, the individual needs to have a 3” binder, a lot of ziplock bags or those little pencil pouches that clip into binders, and cash. With this method, the user would write different budget portions onto separate bags (for example: bills, health care, gas, etc). The cash would then be separated by the amounts that must or can be spent that month. This is where that tracking of receipts comes in handy.


There is an app for everything of course. There are many apps for budgeting of course. I personally use the app Mint by Intuit. These apps track how much you spend by linking to your bank accounts as well as allow you to add any bills that you may owe. This is definitely the more hands-off version of budgeting because all the leg work is done for you and notifications help keep you on track. 


Calendars are a more old-school method of budgeting, but they often are very trusty. First, you need to write down all the dates your bills are due and the amounts that they cost. Next, you would want to write down the days you get paid and the amount that corresponds with that day. Afterward, you would plan out your day-to-day spending between checks and bills (pull out those receipts again). This will help because if you know you often go out every second Friday, you will always plan for how much money that you will spend that day. The big key to this is to USE CASH. Every week, pull out the amount of cash that you need for the week. Leave your cards at home if you can and only take what you know you can spend.


Aubre Thomas
Central Michigan University

I am the epitome of a personality that is way bigger than my size. I come from Detroit, MI and I am a proud student at Central Michigan University. I am the co-owner of a start-up clothing brand XonIT.