Budgeting Basics

Investing Lifestyle Retirement
“量入为出”可能有点像cliché,但有充分的理由. Whatever your “means” are, if you don’t live within them, there is almost no chance you’ll be financially successful. 大多数人都同意,但他们如何确保自己真的做到了呢?


That’s where budgeting comes in. It’s an important topic for everyone, regardless of wealth.

The traditional method

这是一种为不同类别设定支出目标的方法, and then track what you actually spend for each. 例如,我可能有一个每月200美元的外出就餐的消费目标. 如果我追踪我的购物记录并意识到我在这里花了400美元,那么我就知道我需要做出调整.


这个方法对那些纠结于消费习惯的人很有效,因为它能让你发现问题所在. 这对那些喜欢数据、喜欢埋头苦干的人也有好处.


The tricky part can be knowing how to set your goals. 你可能需要花几个月的时间来记录你的支出,以了解什么是正常的, and then base your goals on that. There are some rules of thumb, 比如“为未来储蓄至少10%”或“住房支出不要超过30%”.


For other categories, a lot has to do with personal preference. 我可能会比那些讨厌旅行的人花更多的钱在汽油和机票上, but they may spend more on groceries and household goods. 如果你需要更多的帮助来设定目标,有几个在线模板,比如 this one.


You also need a tool for tracking your goals and your spending. Many people use a simple spreadsheet that they create themselves. There are also very cool tools online like Mint.com and YouNeedABudget.com that let you link your bank account and your credit/debit cards, and automatically categorize each transaction for you, and measure your goals. 有一些手工工作要做,以确保一切都分类正确, but it’s very helpful.


The downside of this method is that it’s pretty hands-on. You’ll need to manually categorize some transactions, 或者至少确保你的在线工具做得正确. 这也要求你对自己诚实,知道哪些领域需要改进. Simply tracking them is only part of the equation; in order to be successful, 你必须愿意认识到问题并做出相应的调整.

The reverse method

在传统的预算方法中,你从跟踪支出开始,然后再从那里开始. 但是,如果有一种方法可以控制你的支出,而不涉及那么多细节呢? That’s where reverse budgeting comes in. 相反的预算,你担心你的个人支出最后. That may seem odd…how can that possibly work?



Pay yourself first
  • Set savings goals in advance and make them happen automatically. 一个很好的例子是,如果你有一个像401k这样的公司退休计划.
  • 如果你知道你需要把收入的15%存起来来完成你的目标, then set your 401k contributions to 15%. They’ll come out of your paycheck before it even hits your bank. 这样,无论你在其他东西上花了多少钱,你都知道你的长期储蓄已经得到了照顾.
  • 这也适用于短期目标,如为住房储蓄. 设置自动转账功能,从你的支票账户转到你不容易转到的储蓄账户.
Pay everyone else next
  • This mostly refers to bills. 你已经知道有些东西是需要花钱的, like mortgage or rent, insurance, or paying off debt. 你可能对每个月的还款有一个合理的估计.
  • This also includes expenses that are technically “optional”, but you’re committed to paying them each month, i.e. Netflix.
  • 您可以设置自动账单来支付这些费用,这样钱就会自动取出. 因为您可以准确地估计每个月的这些成本,所以不应该出现任何意外.


用支付给自己和其他人之后剩下的钱, you can spend as you please
  • If you’ve automated things as much as possible, 你知道,账单支付后,支票账户里剩下的钱都是可以利用的.
  • 你不需要担心这些钱具体花在了什么地方. It doesn’t matter if you spend $20 or $200 on clothes, because you’ve already taken care of the important stuff. Those secondary categories tend to work themselves out.
  • Note: don’t go crazy and accumulate ongoing credit card debt! You can use credit cards for spending, 只要你的支票账户里有足够的钱就可以还清 every month.


相反的方法确实假设你有一个合理的想法,你可以根据你的收入,并没有锁定太多的钱在这些持续支付,你没有剩下. If that’s the case, 您应该继续使用传统的方法来找出哪里出了问题.


However, 对于那些觉得自己的预算已经很合理的人来说, but want to make sure you’re in total control, the reverse method can be very useful.


在WealthPoint,我们经常帮助客户制定预算. If you’d like some help putting a budgeting strategy together, or just a second opinion on what you’re already doing, we would love to help. 一个好的预算通常是实现你的财务目标的第一步.


Thanks for reading!

About the Author: Josh Bentz

Josh Bentz, CFP®, Wealth Advisor, 通过提供全面的服务帮助客户组织和简化他们的财务生活, personal financial planning. 作为一名财富顾问,Josh为客户提供全面的财务规划. 他喜欢了解个人和家庭,这样他就能给出具体的、有意义的建议. 他相信作为一名受托人,做对客户最有利的事.