September 21, 2022 / Caroline Shapley / The Homefront, Finances
Tips for understanding budgeting and to set a plan that works for your finances.
Whether you’re starting out on your own, opening your first checking account, or have been supporting yourself for a while, spending and saving can be tricky. With monthly bills and savings, it can be hard to budget for things you really want in life, like buying a house.
Saving money starts with small habits that eventually add up. Check out some budget tips below to get your on your way to savings.
Putting pencil to paper can help you process and commit to memory what your goals are. Make a written list of your goals in terms of spending habits. This may be anything from working to pay off credit card debt to saving for a down payment for a home to having more spending money for new decorations.
Writing it down also applies to the actual budget, too. It can be easy to spend carelessly if you aren’t tracking what you are spending. Tracking every transaction, whether a splurge or standard monthly bill, raises awareness of how often you’re actually spending money.
It can take some time and effort to track every single transaction, but it will easily help you want to limit your spending.
Have you ever heard the phrase “cash is king?” This is true when it comes to being aware of spending habits. It’s easy to simply swipe a credit card and not pay much attention to the number of transactions or the purchase price. The thought, “I’ll pay it off later,” or “I’ll handle that when the bill comes,” can be a dangerous spending habit.
Instead of getting into a credit card bill rut, pay with cash as often as possible. A great way to get into the habit of this is to go to the bank on payday and withdraw your spending budget. From groceries to gas, use cash for anything that doesn’t require an online or credit payment. Money physically leaving your hands for purchases will make you aware of how much and how often you’re spending.
Does anybody really like asking for help? Probably not. But it’s better to ask for saving help than to ask to borrow money.
Think about the people you have in your life that are financially responsible. Then, consider asking one of them to be your money mentor. This would be someone that acts as an accountability partner that you go to when wanting to make a big purchase or take on a new monthly payment. Instead of telling you “yes” or “no” they can walk with you through your budget, discuss pros and cons and help you understand the positive or negative impact of this purchase.
Having an accountability partner can get you on track and KEEP you on track with your finances and smart money choices.
Maybe you don’t enjoy cooking or maybe with your busy schedule, it’s just easier to grab carry out on the way home from work. Have you ever taken the time to add up how much money you spend on eating out in a week? A month? The number might be more staggering than you think.
Day by day, it might not seem like much. Week by week or even monthly, this could be a big transfer added to your savings! Accomplish this by transitioning from to-go meals to homemade and weekly meal-prepped food.
Set aside time on the weekends to plan meals for the upcoming week. This helps you to 1. Create a grocery list and 2. Avoid weekly stress of figuring out what to make after a long day.
Creating a budget—and sticking to it—as well as changing spending habits can be a challenge. These changes may take a while to really implement. Have patience and allow some hiccups in the process. Saving money is never easy, but it is worth it! Which budgeting tip are you trying first?