Everyone has financial goals. You may want to save money, pay off your credit cards, or just have a better understanding of your finances. However it’s hard to do anything without a plan, and it can be intimidating to start. It can change your life if you do, though, so here are some tips to help you with your budget.
Start Today (If You Haven’t Already)
First, define your goals. Next, take a look at your bank statements, credit card bills, and receipts. This will be scary if you haven’t checked in a long time, but it’s an important step in improving your finances. Use them to determine your income and expenses so that you can figure out your budget.
Keep track of all of your spending. Some banks and credit cards do this automatically, and will even sort your spending by category on your account. If yours doesn’t, save all of your receipts and enter them into a budget-tracking app, such as Mint, or spreadsheet. Google Sheets and Excel have budget templates to save you time. Check your bank account, credit card statements, and other financial activity on a regular basis to keep your information up to date.
Don’t try to start saving your entire paycheck, and don’t try to completely eliminate spending. Start with minor changes. Study your spending habits to see where you can afford to cut back. You may not be able to change the amount of rent you have to pay, but you might be able to save on food and entertainment.
Change Your Habits
Take a look at where you can reduce spending and come up with a plan. If you spend a lot of money on restaurants, learn to cook. Give yourself some leeway when you start. Over time, you could learn to cook meals that use cheaper ingredients. For entertainment, you could rent a movie you haven’t seen instead of going to the theater. You can also start researching free or cheap things to do in your city or town - you might expand your horizons your life while saving money!
Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. There will be times when you screw up, or have to deal with unexpected expenses, or maybe have trouble resisting your impulses. Budgeting is hard and it takes time to change habits. If you’re struggling, loosen your restrictions and make adjustments as you go.
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By Like Jalbert of United Family Network