Misconceptions abound around the idea of budgeting. Some people see budgets as a constraint on finances, while others view it as a concept only the rich can afford. Younger people may view budgeting as something only people with families or people over the age of 40 can carry out. These misconceptions cannot be further from the truth.
About 41% of Americans have a budget, according to a U.S. Bank survey. Every person, no matter their age, income, and status, should set a budget each month or before every payday. Setting aside money makes your spending habits easier to track. A budget allows you to have enough money to pay for the basic necessities every month. It also helps you foresee which expenses to cut down or which funds to borrow from should there be an emergency. In reality, budgeting is one of the ways you can start achieving financial freedom.
If you’re struggling with keeping afloat each month or don’t know when and how to start budgeting, here are important tips we have for you.
Write down all your monthly payables.
The keyword here is “write”. When you itemize each of your expenses and monthly dues on paper, it’s easier to see where cash should flow. You now have a visual representation on which expenses take a large chunk out of your income or allowance. Don’t forget to write down every little thing like your weekly runs to the grocery store or your bi-weekly coffee rituals.
Label your expenses.
You can categorize the things you pay for each month as necessities, debts, or wants. Falling under necessities are rent, groceries, bills, etc. Debts include your mortgage, credit card payments, and the amount you owe a friend. Everything else just falls under wants. Now, you can also label wants as negotiable or non-negotiable. The reason why you need to label everything is that it gives you a clear picture of which things to prioritize or downsize.
Write down the months when spending is a bit higher.
There will always be months when you have to spend more than you like. For instance, the month when tuition is usually due, months when you often get sick, or months when important occasions fall.
Have a schedule.
List down the due dates for each expense and payday, and take note of how long it takes to get a withdrawal from your bank account. This allows you to make estimates and schedule payments so you can avoid overdraft fees.
Use an online budget app.
Now that you’ve written down everything you need to set a budget, you can try any of these online budget apps from the latest 2019 app reviews. Getting an online budget app lets you work on your budget from your mobile device. You can even link some apps to your bank account, and they’ll send you notifications for scheduled payments or when your balance reaches a certain amount.
Have a quarterly and year-end goal.
Having a goal in sight will keep your spending in check. Instead of instant gratification, you can delay purchases for a more rewarding prize later on. Tucking away money each month can also be a source for emergency expenses.
Pay debts before spending.
If you owe someone, pay them first before spending on luxuries and entertainment. Credit cards and loans are a tricky thing. Make sure to pay more than the minimum amount due each month if you have more than enough money in your pocket.
Cut your social media time.
Social media is fun, but it also breeds a little bit of envy and a lot of temptation to purchase things you don’t really need right now. Cut it down to a few minutes or one hour a day for at least twice a week. You’ll even be happier without it as you start to appreciate the free things around you.