Budgeting, Money

How To Make Your First Budget In Your Twenties

Budgeting. Now I know it’s not as fun as blowing that fresh pay check at the mall or going online shopping crazy, but believe me it’s just as important!

Making sure you have enough money to do all the things you want to do while still saving money and being able to pay the bills is essential.

Because lets be honest, sometimes you’re going to want to dip into your savings to go see your favorite band perform.

And although that may be okay when you live at home, once you’re on your own that savings is all you’ve got. So you have to make sure you don’t blow it!

There’s nothing worse than seeing that your automatic bill payment failed because you accidentally spent too much money at Forever 21.

Been there, done that, and it is not fun!

Whether you’re a struggling college kid living in a dorm room much too small for your liking, kicking it in your parents place, or already out on your own, EVERYONE needs a budget.

So grab a pen and some paper because it’s time to get your budget on track!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Which means at no extra cost to you, I will be compensated when you use my links. You can read more about our disclosure here.

Set Your Savings Goals

Before you even create your budget, write down EVERYTHING you want to save for. Budgeting isn’t just about making sure you have enough money to spend at the current moment, you need to be saving for the future too!

And when you have things to look forward to, you are more likely to ACTUALLY want to save some money.
Extra money for Christmas presents won’t just magically appear when the time comes, you gotta budget for it!
I’m pretty sure I’m a plan-o-holic because I’m already thinking about wedding expenses and I’m not even engaged yet. Now you don’t have to be as crazy as me but you can definitely still plan ahead for the future!
Short Term Savings Goals
  • New date night dress
  • Winter boots
  • Spring break vacay
  • New phone
  • Holiday events
Long Term Savings Goals
  • Apartment (moving out of the fams house!)
  • New car
  • Overseas vacay
  • Future home

Bonus Tip- The Qapital app lets you save for multiple things at once so you can keep all your savings goals organized. No more guessing what money goes with what goal! Plus if you use my link you’ll get a bonus $5 for free after your first deposit has been made!Qapital App

Create Your Budget

Okay now that you have some goals to get excited about, it’s time to make the one thing everyone seems to dread. The budget!
It’s funny because without a budget, I can’t even function because I’d be worried about if I will have enough for my bills if I buy that new pair of shoes.
Budgeting actually isn’t hard at all, and once you set your budget, you don’t really have to touch it again until the next month rolls around.
There are a couple different ways you can choose to do your budget depending on when you get paid, weekly, bi- weekly, or monthly.
My boyfriend and I get paid bi-weekly so when I create the budget for the month, I base it off of each of us having 2 paychecks each.
Since everyone is in slightly different places in their life, your budget may differ depending on if you live at home, in a dorm, or in an apartment.

#1 Budget for the main necessities. These are things that HAVE to be paid and apply to the household.

  • Rent
  • Gas Bill (for the house)
  • Water Bill
  • Electric Bill
  • Wifi Bill

#2 Budget for the non-household necessities, or things that only apply to one person individually (if you live with a significant or roommate).

  • Student Loans
  • Phone Bill
  • Car Insurance
  • Credit Card Bill
  • Gas (car)
  • Groceries

#3 Budget for everyday spending money

  • Toothpaste refill
  • Makeup
  • Shampoo
  • Cup of Coffee
  • Girls Night Out (drinks and Ubers can get pricey)

Okay so what does that look like broken down into bi-weekly paychecks?

Here is an example of how a bi-weekly paycheck could be broken down for all your monthly expenses if you lived in an apartment.

Now depending on where you live, or if you have a significant other or roommate who will be splitting the costs these numbers will vary. But for this example, I’m going to use some random numbers and my current situation (living with a significant) to give you a visual.

Keep in mind that things like utilities (water,gas,electric) and paychecks may very from month to month. So my number one rule in budgeting?

ALWAYS budget for your LOWEST possible income and your HIGHEST possible bills.

If your budget can accommodate those numbers, you will always have enough money to go around!

Paycheck #1- $1200 in combined checks (expenses that occur from the 1st-15th)

  • Rent – $700
  • Gas Bill (home) – $50
  • Water Bill – $50
  • Gas (car) – $60
  • Spending Money – $50
  • Groceries– $75
  • Student Loans– $150

Total Expenses– $1,065

Leftover Savings/ Spending Backup– $65

Paycheck #2- $1200 in combined checks (expenses that occur from the 16th-31st)

  • Electric Bill– $70
  • Wifi Bill– $60
  • Phone Bill – $50
  • Groceries – $75
  • Gas (car)– $60
  • Car Insurance – $100
  • Credit Card Bill– $60
  • Spending Money– $50

Total Expenses– $525

Leftover Savings/Spending Back Up– $675

If you take some time at the beginning of every month to set up your budget, you won’t even have to think twice when it comes to having enough money for all your expenses!

Oh and if you want to save some extra money at the grocery store, grab the Ibotta app and get cash back on your food AND beauty items that you buy. Now you’ll be MAKING some extra money and killing the #adulting life! (Plus you get $10 for FREE just for signing up!)

Bonus Tip- Keep your monthly budget in your phone or written down in a notebook so you can refer back to it when payday comes around.

Allow Some Spending Money

You’ll notice that I automatically budgeted for spending money.

It’s okay to have fun and spend your money! In fact it’s crucial that you aren’t just “all work and no play” when it comes to your #adulting life.
This was one of the hardest things for me to do because I’m big on saving money so going out of my way to put money aside to spend was not appealing.
But once I moved out on my own, I realized spur of the moment coffee dates and girls nights out were becoming a regular thing that I enjoyed every month. And in order to be able to continue with them, I was going to have to budget for it.

Bonus Tip- Have a separate checking account to hold your spending money so you aren’t tempted to over spend.

Save For A Rainy Day

Now if you can’t quite think of anything to save for yet, don’t just spend all your extra money.

The adult world should just be called the world of unforeseen circumstances because that’s exactly what it is. Even if you’ve created the PERFECT budget, you can’t budget for a car transmission failure, or a broken bone, or getting your wisdom teeth removed.
Sh*t happens and when it does being prepared will save you from a major mental break down.

Take A Deep Breath

Okay I know that may have been a little overwhelming. Especially if you’ve never created a budget before. But breathe! Now that you know the steps to creating a budget, all you have to do is mold it to your current situation.

Take a few minutes, grab some coffee, put on your favorite song, and tackle your budget like a boss!

Good luck!

Need Some More Money Advice?

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