Starting out on your own these days can be both scary and rewarding. Even the most responsible person will encounter challenges, but the best way to succeed is to plan, plan, and plan some more.

Setting up Your Monthly Budget Spreadsheet

Setting up your own monthly budget spreadsheet is easy to do in popular programs like Excel and Quicken. Developing an estimate of the costs you're likely to accrue while out on your own makes good sense. That way, you'll be able to quickly determine what is affordable and potentially avoid falling into a bad situation.

If you're thinking about renting a place, check out the neighborhood, and better yet, talk to the neighbors. In addition to paying rent, some of the major costs that should be included on the monthly budget spreadsheet are the utilities. Ask the landlord how much utilities they typically run and make a quick call to the utility companies to double-check the accuracy of the landlord's estimate.

Include Groceries on Your Monthly Budget Spreadsheet

Groceries should also be included on the monthly budget spreadsheet. Depending on where you live and how well you shop--using coupons and buying larger packages of paper products and non-perishables--you could easily spend $80 a week in groceries just for one person (and that's not eating steak every night or eating out). By the way, avoid eating out, if at all possible, and settle for a hearty meal at home.

Find Good Insurance

The insurance industry has grown tremendously and so has the cost--car insurance, health insurance, and renter's insurance, to name a few. Your best bet in finding good rates rests on your history and good research. For example, if you've been ticketed for reckless operation recently, your rates could be double the normal amount. As far as health insurance, some companies are offering more than one type of plan--choose the more affordable one based on your current circumstances and you can keep some of your hard-earned money where it belongs--in your pocket or in the bank. The last type of insurance mentioned is renter's insurance. Although it isn't necessarily required, it could save a bundle in the long run if something catastrophic happens. That's right--insurance premiums should be included on the monthly budget spreadsheet as well.

Don't Forget About Transportation

When choosing a place to live, consider transportation costs--fuel, commute, and the wear-and-tear on your vehicle. As a general rule, living within 15 or 20 minutes of the workplace and doctor's office can save a lot of fuel, travel time and lengthen the life of your vehicle.

Lastly, include an estimate on the monthly budget spreadsheet of how much you're planning to allot for entertainment. That way, you can save up your "entertainment funds" for something bigger (like a vacation) or spend it on smaller perks. It's also important to save some for emergency funds as well, because cars break down and people do become ill.

All of this and anything else you can think of as a potential cost should be included on the spreadsheet so you'll have some idea of what you're going to spend before you have to spend it. As each month passes, simply update the spreadsheet to reflect actual costs.

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Keep in mind that when you are first starting to learn how to manage money, it is important to understand that keeping a monthly budget worksheet will actually save you money so you can put more in the bank or cut down on the things you can live without.