A college graduate's guide to budgeting
Many recent college graduates' knowledge of how to budget their funds ranges from a very faint idea to absolutely nothing at all. So if you fall into that category, you've been working for a couple months and have an idea of your monthly income, it may be a good idea to sit down and sketch out a budget for yourself.
The first step to doing this is listing your income sources, according to U.S. News and World Report. Make sure you include the amount after taxes in your income column. Essentially the purpose of this budget is to ensure that you don't spend more than you make, so the logical first step is to find out exactly how much you are making on a monthly basis.
After you've gotten a handle on your monthly income you will have to identify fixed, new and variable expenses. You may also want to start a savings account, which will subtract some from your income. Typically 10 percent of your salary is considered enough to deposit monthly.
It is best to begin with fixed expenses. These are expenses that you don't expect to change every month. So if you've finally switched off of your best friend's mom's Netflix account, or if you're paying rent on your own, these can be listed as fixed expenses. These should be simple to figure out since you have presumably been paying them.
A new lifestyle will also require some new expenses. The post-grad life is littered with new responsibilities set to drain your funds. These are likely to include things like student loans and health insurance.
Finally you may have to begin prioritizing a bit in life. You will have to find your variable expenses. These are things you have complete control over, such as going to the bar or the movies. While it is perfectly acceptable to allow for living your life within your budget, you should figure out what isn't important and try to cut these things out of your monthly expenses.
If you need more help, Forbes recommends you visit websites such as Mint.com and Youneedabudget.com.