We’re still fresh into the new year, and if you’re like many people, you have some financial goals. One financial goal that many people start with in the new year is to create and stick to a budget. Budgeting can help you achieve the goals you’re working toward. It’s getting out of debt, saving for retirement, or just trying to keep your grocery bill from getting out of hand. Budgets can help you reign in your spending and gain control of your financial life.
Here are a few tips for budgeting if you’re just getting started this year:
When creating your budget, start with the real necessities: food, mortgage/rent payment, utilities, and transportation. Once your absolute necessities are taken care of, you can fill in the rest of your budget categories. Identifying needs vs. wants is helpful. You should budget for both, but your needs must take priority when there’s not enough money to cover both.
Set aside a small amount of money in your budget each month for unexpected expenses that come up — things like a school fundraiser or a going-away gift for your co-worker. Consider an amount around $50. That way, when something unexpected comes up, you don’t have to worry. You’ve got it covered.
We all have times when money is just a little tight. The loss of a job or sickness can happen unexpectedly. When times like this hit, it can be hard to make adjustments or cut things out of your budget. But don’t worry. Be as flexible as you can because most of the time, it’s only temporary! Cutting cable, morning trips to the coffee shop, dining out, or your Amazon shopping habit can help you make it through until things smooth out.
Make budgeting part of your daily routine. Staying consistent and tracking your progress is key to staying in control of your money and your budget. Consider getting your partner/spouse on board. If they are bought in and you work on your budget every month, it will help you get even closer to your financial goals.
There are many online budget apps that make it easier to track your spending and budget. A few you could consider are You Need a Budget (YNAB), EveryDollar, and Mint. And at FIB, we’re here to help you make the right financial decisions. Let us know how we can help you meet your financial goals!