Step 3: Set your goals. Before you start sifting through the information you’ve tracked, make a list of all the financial goals you want to accomplish in the short_ and long_term. Short_term goals should take no longer than a year to achieve. Long_term goals, such as saving for retirement or your child’s education, may take years to reach. Remember, your goals don’t have to be set in stone, but identifying your priorities before you start planning a budget will help. For example, it may be easier to cut spending if you know your short_term goal is to reduce credit card debt.
Begin by listing your income for the month. This should include any paychecks you receive, as well as income from other sources like child support or investments. If you have a business, you should include the amount that you pay yourself out of the business each month.