How much have you saved up for your next vacation? Do you still have some left for your emergency and/or savings fund? How’s budgeting going for you?
Don’t fret, you’re not alone. Budgeting is difficult and takes time to get a good grasp on it. Especially since your income can be unstable and emergency expenses are unforeseen. However, there are ways you can still take the wheel over your finances and not let your financial anxiety take over you.
As you know over time where your paycheck goes monthly, you’ll feel less worried of unexpected bills and more able to conquer these instances. But how exactly do you get started with taking control over your budget? Read on and learn how to handle your budget and still save a little extra each month.
Simplify your budget. If you’re one of the people who have a number of accounts set up, it’s likely you’re having difficulty keeping track of them all (unless you have a game-changing system you follow, share it with us!).
It’s best if you could simplify your budget. Start with your source/s of income and how much you earn every paycheck. List down your monthly expenses (round the numbers to) and break it down (e.g. utilities, electricity, phone and internet, transportation and food allowance, etc.) your budget is already diversified, the least you can do is simplify it for easy tracking.
Resist temptations. This one’s a no-brainer. If you keep your receipts, pull out the receipts in the past two or three months and reflect on your expenses. Were there a handful of clothing, shoes, luxury and entertainment expenses? If so, it’s about time to fight these temptations.
Automate everything. It’s 2016, take advantage of the modernity. Today, you can stick to your budget even better with the help of automating your bills payment, savings, investing, tracking, and more.
Automating keeps you more disciplined. Plus, you’ll never be late or miss on a payment again.
Keep cash on hand. If you’re doing electronic payments and savings, the only thing left on your list to be worried about are groceries, gas, food allowance (at work), and your “rewards” money. It’s best recommended to use cash for all this.
Why should you automate everything and keep cash for these? It’s simpler and restricts you from overspending. Credit cards give a sense of unlimited money with just a swipe. By using cash, you can see how much you have left which encourages you to make smart money spending.
Set weekly allowance. This ties up with using cash. To stay within your budget, don’t withdraw the cash and keep all of it in your wallet, chances are, you still might overspend. Determine how much your weekly allowance and keep that amount in your wallet.
Do give yourself cash allowance when shopping as well so you don’t go over your budget and leave your credit cards at home. So when your cash is gone, you’re done shopping.
Set actionable goals. It’s easy to say and set a goal to save $200 monthly. But with the large number in mind, it becomes difficult to attain. How about saving $50 a week?
You see, tricking the mind can help greatly in reaching your goals. Set up small doable goals as steps to reach your ultimate goal. It’s easily achievable that way.
Reward yourself. Hard day at work? Reached your goal weight this month? Perhaps you need more than just a pat on the back. Treat yourself a massage, new gym clothes or see a movie in the cinema. Don’t deprive yourself, it’s perfectly fine to treat yourself from time to time, just keep in mind to spend within your budget.
Track and maintain. All these wouldn’t make sense and work if you skip this essential step. How often do you go buy a snack in a convenient store during your break and how many times have you stopped for Starbucks on the way to work?
You might forget how many Starbucks coffee you consume monthly and how many times you swipe your card impulsively. Never wonder where your money went. Track all your expenditures, write it down if that works best for you or input it in finance management tools and sites such as Mint.com. This way you get an overview of how much money comes and goes; this way it’s easier to maintain and keep progress.
What other budget managing tips have worked for you and that you can advise to our readers? Share it with us!
About Chie Suarez
Chie Suarez has spent time figuring out ways on saving money and stepping away from her go-to retail stores. She then became a writer for Speedy Money which offers hassle-free loans services.