Four Tips for Healthy Personal Budgeting
New year and a new chance to start some healthy financial habits!
Do you want to save money this year?
Do you want to comfortably retire someday?
Are you looking to have the funds to travel, buy a new car, or get the latest iPhone?
Financial security of tomorrow begins with financial responsibility TODAY.
We’ve seen time and time again that the old fashion monthly budget is the most successful route to helping people have control over their money instead of their money having control of them.
Take these quick start tips as you begin to make 2018’s wallet what you want:
#1: DETERMINE YOUR CATEGORIES
Often, we give little thought to what we actually spend our money on, but everyone has a spending pattern that will only take a few months of recon to identify.
The best way to figure out your spending pattern so you can give yourself an accurate budget to work with is take a look at your bank and credit card statements (or receipts if you pay cash) from month-to-month. Analyze about (3) month’s worth and try to recognize where your dollars are going, separating them by category.
Notice you spend a hefty amount of money to eat out to lunch every day? Make note of it when building you budget so you can be sure to give this category enough cash and you won’t overspend.
MAKE NOTE: Your monthly budget should not be where you, in your perfect world, aspire to spend more or less money. It should be a realistic depiction of what’s uniquely doable for you TODAY. You may have to cut back in some areas, but that’s the cost for working to reach your goals.
#2: KEEP IT LOOSE
As you begin to determine those categories, keep it malleable. If you find you spend less or more money in one category, make note and adjust next month. It’s fine to fluctuate category sizes, but the key here is to stick to the budget you set for yourself.
It’s best to look at each month with fresh eyes and proactively anticipate as much as you can based on what’s happening.
Are you taking a trip this month? Be sure to set aside the proper gas or airfare cash, more money for eating out, and maybe a temporary category for souvenirs.
Is it your mom’s birthday and you want to get her something amazing? Set aside the amount of money in a gift fund specific to that month.
#3: CHECK YOUR ACCOUNT
If you’re not using a budget app, some sort of list, or check register, you may want to keep a close eye on your bank and credit card accounts online or in their apps.
It’s easy to buy Starbucks for the office and forget to make note of the deduction in your “Eating Out” category. A few dollars here and there aren’t a small thing. They add up and can tilt your budget off quickly.
The more you keep an eye on your accounts, the less you’ll be afraid of the statements at the end of the month.
#4: LEARN FROM YOUR STATEMENTS OR MONTHLY REPORTS
Analyzing data will only help you succeed.
Religiously sitting down to take a look at your progress or areas of improvement will better prepare you for the month coming by studying your monthly financial reports (provided by your bookkeeper) or combing through your bank and credit card statements.
Learn from your mistakes, be honest about your financial standing, and know that the power is ultimately in your hands to manage your money and set yourself up to reach your goals.
Need a hand in personal finance budgeting? We can help. Better Bookkeepers has designed a personal budgeting system to ensure you are set up to succeed.
Book your first free budgeting consultation by giving us a ring at: 707.474.9510.
While Better Bookkeepers uses all reasonable efforts to ensure that this information is current and complete on the date of publication, no representatives or warranties are made (expressed or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of such information. Better Bookkeepers, therefore, cannot be held liable for any loss arising or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information appearing in this publication.