Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Guide to Creating a Budget


To better control everyday spending, you need a plan. That’s where a budget can help.

A budget can help ensure that your hard earned money is going towards your financial goals. A budget can also help you clean up areas where you might waste money.

Steps To Creating A Budget

Developing a budget doesn’t need to be overly complicated, just follow these five simple steps, and you’ll have a better idea of where you stand financially.

  1. Identify your income
    List all sources of income that you have coming in each month. To find this information, review your pay stubs, bank account statements, or other records of money you have received.

    Use our Monthly Income Worksheet to get started.

  2. List your expenses
    Review your expenses for the past few months and write them down.

    Keep in mind that some expenses will vary from month to month, such as an electricity bill. Estimate the average monthly you spend on these expenses.

    Use our Monthly Expenses Worksheet to get started.

  3. Compare your income and expenses
    If your monthly income is larger than your monthly expenses, you are doing great. If there are way you can cut costs, identify those.
  4. Create your budget
    Now that you know how much you earn and spend each month, it’s time to develop a budget.

    The Federal Trade Commission has a good Monthly Budget Worksheet to help you get started.

  5. Monitor your budget and make changes
    Monitor your budget from month to month and make any changes necessary. Upcoming vacation plans? Be sure to include that in your budget.

Helpful Resources and Websites