The new year is now upon us. You may have some resolutions that you are trying to work on, but if not, then it’s never too late! One of your resolutions can be to get better at budgeting. This post will help you do just that by providing tips for budgeting like a pro.

1. Know your net income and average expenses.

The first step is to know how much money you bring in after taxes and then divide that by the number of months you will be budgeting. That last part is important because if an emergency happens and you cannot pay your rent/mortgage or buy food, it does not matter how good you are at budgeting! When calculating your average expenses, it’s best to factor in all monthly bills. If you are trying to save money, make sure that any amounts above your obligatory monthly fees are not included.

2. Set your financial goals.

The next step is to figure out what you are saving for or your financial goals. It can be something as significant as getting married/purchasing a new home, or it could be something smaller, like wanting some extra money to take the family on vacation this summer. You need money saved before you can accomplish these things!

3. Find your favorite budgeting method.

There are various budgeting methods that you can use, and you may have to try a few before finding the one that works best for you. Some popular techniques include spreadsheet budgeting, where you create a spreadsheet and include your income and expenses. Another way to budget is envelope system budgeting, which involves creating envelopes with the names of your different goals. Also, zero-based budgeting starts with your total monthly income and allocates every penny until there are no more pennies left. Lastly, there is the 50/30/20 rule, where you spend 50% of your income on necessities, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings/investments.

4. Find the best budgeting tools for you.

There are so many budgeting apps and websites! A few of them include Mint, Personal Capital, Mvelopes, EveryDollar, ClearCheckbook.com, and Wally. Most of these tools will let you sync up your accounts (it is always a good idea to get free credit scores from Credit Karma or Credit Sesame every month), so you can see how much money is currently in your accounts. To save time, I recommend going to the official website for whichever tool you choose and using their mobile app! This way, you won’t have to log into every individual account on a website.