How to Make a Personal Budget

how to make a personal budget

It’s the beginning of a New Year and a great time to make changes for the better. One great goal for 2017 is creating a budget. It is important to have a budget so that you know you will always have enough money for the things that you need and so that you can save for the things that are important to you. Having a budget can help keep you out of debt and prioritize your spending.

Budgeting Basics

There are four basic budget categories:

First are your fixed payments, things that you have to pay for every month, or maybe on an annual or other basis. These are things like utilities, car payments, mortgage payments or rent, cell phone bills, debt payments, car registration, insurance, etc.

Second, flexible spending. These are categories that you need to spend money on, like food, clothing, and personal care items, but that you can save money on by setting a budget and sticking to it. For example, you can spend less money eating out by limiting the number of times per month you go out.

Third are your emergency funds. These are things that you should save a little for in case you have a health emergency, your car breaks down, etc. A good recommendation is to have 3 months of your income saved in an emergency fund. This might sound like a lot, but if you can swing it, it will feel great to have this safety net. If you can't do this now, it can always be something to work towards.

The last category is the most fun, discretionary funds! Discretionary funds are money that you left over to spend on fun things like going to the movies, buying that new tv you want, traveling, etc. To figure out how much money you have to spend on these things, first calculate your monthly income, then deduct your necessary spending. Once you have done this, you can figure out how much money you have left over and prioritize how you want to spend it.

budget categories

Basic Budget Categories

There are lots of helpful tools online to get you started with a budget, but here are some helpful categories to get you started.

budget example



Fixed payments

  • rent/mortgage
  • utilities
  • car expenses
  • insurance
  • cell phone
  • health care/medical
  • debt payments
  • retirement
  • life insurance

Flexible spending

  • gas
  • groceries
  • restaurants
  • clothing
  • personal care items
  • household items
  • health/fittness
  • gifts/donations

Emergency funds

  • job loss
  • car repair
  • medical emergency
  • home repair

Discretionary funds

  • rec/entertainment
  • allowance
  • large purchases
  • vacation/travel
  • home improvement

Why Make a Budget?

One great thing about creating a budget is that you can actually have more money to spend on the things you want! How, you ask? By tracking what you spend and looking at patterns over time, you can figure out if you are spending your money on the things that you really want to be spending it on. For example, instead of buying that $5.00 Starbucks every morning, you could save that money and put it in a travel fund. At the end of the year, you would have $1,825 to spend. You can also save money in categories like eating out or clothing. You might be surprised by what you discover when you track your spending in these areas.


So what are you going to do with all this extra cash?

Whether you are flying solo, traveling with friends, or traveling as a couple or family, Hawaii is a great place to visit with wonderful things to see and do for everyone. And many will tell you that Maui is the best island to visit! You might be surprised to find out that during certain times of the year you can get an airline ticket from many major U.S. cities to Maui for just $400! During your stay, you could choose to stay in a hotel, or you could save some money by staying in an air bnb or vacation rental, which could run you as little as $150 a night or less. There are lots of good deals at some wonderful places to stay. Renting a car will probably run you about $40 a day. While you are in Maui, there are lots of great free activities such as the beach, road to Hana and hikes. If you are going to pay for an activity, consider a helicopter tour with Air Maui. It’s a great way to see the whole island and fun for people of all ages. Book a tour for as little as $188 a person. This means that for one person to travel to Hawaii for a week, it could cost just $5 more than that daily coffee!


Maui Vacation Budget

Helicopter flights of Maui are a one of a kind experience that you are sure to remember for a lifetime. Many of our guests say it is the best thing they did on Maui and that it is more than worth the price! Here is what some of them have to say about the experience:

“The Air Maui front desk team was able to work with me to find a great flight that was in my budget. Air Maui has very competitive pricing compared to their competitors. The flight - incredible. You will see sights that will move you to tears. If I get back to Maui - I'll be taking another ride with Air Maui.” - tbconnor

“This was a wonderful tour! The highlights were the waterfalls on the eastside along the Hana road and flying about the crater. BEAUTIFUL! The tickets for this experience were worth every penny!” - Lynn H

“Words or pictures cannot do justice to the experience. If you only have the budget to do one thing, this is it. Absolutely breathtaking.” - Guillermo B

“So I have always been too cheap to pay for helicopter tours but now I will do it every time I come to the Islands. A highly recommended tour with a fantastic staff that make you feel welcome and at ease.” - ebencer

“My husband and I did this tour 26 years ago and wanted our boys to experience it!!!! They absolutely loved it, they stopped on a cliff and got to see the waves crashing on the shore! Worth every penny and Air Maui has an impeccable safety record so we knew they were in great hands!!!!” - kevinablack

“I've traveled all over the world and had many great experiences but this helicopter tour took my breath away! It was the highlight of my trip to Maui and worth every penny.” - Sandra P


Maui helicopter tour cost

Interested in flying with Air Maui Helicopters? Book online through our tours page or call us at (808) 877-7005 if you have any questions!