Do you carry a lot of financial stress when it comes to your family or personal budget? It’s a budgeting fact that creating (and sticking to!) a budget will decrease stress and help you gain control over your financial future. Plus, whether it be paying off your student loans or being able to finally afford that tropical vacation you’ve always dreamed of, budgeting will put you on track to reach your goals.
To get you started on the right foot, here are six tips to follow, tricks to know, and tools to use.
1- Get Everyone on the Same Page
It’s extremely helpful for staying on budget if everyone in your household is informed on and supportive of it. If only one person is doing the planning and enforcing, resentment on both sides begins to grow. Everything will be much easier to manage if you’re working with each other instead of against.
When deciding which goal to work toward together, make sure it’s a SMART one:
2- Use a Budget Worksheet or Online Budgeting Tools
There’s a simple answer to the question, “How do I keep track of all of this?!” Use a free tool! There are many great options out there, already set up and ready for you to just plug in your numbers. Categories have already been created and calculations will tally your totals automatically.
All you need to do is download one of the following that fits your needs and you’re ready to begin:
- Personal Budget Spreadsheet
- Family Budget Template
- Personal Finance Services
- Saving and Budgeting Apps
Using either a spreadsheet, template, online tool, or mobile app takes most of the effort out of setting up and tracking your budgets, making it much more likely to succeed.
3- Budget a Buffer
No matter your budgeting style, you should always plan for the unexpected expense because one always seems to turn up. Include a buffer line in your monthly budget. If you find a frequently occurring unexpected expense hitting that buffer, it’s time to graduate that expense to a budget line all its own.
4- Automate Everything (But Double Check It)
Set up as many of your bills as possible on an automatic payment schedule. This shortens the time it takes you to balance your checkbook every month, saves you potential late fees, and frees you from having to remember if you paid everything. Just be sure to do a quick monthly check to make sure each bill cleared correctly.
5- Evaluate Regularly
Set a recurring calendar appointment every week or two for looking at how your spending is coming along. When mistakes and overages are caught early, not only are they easier to fix, but it’s easier to get them back on track, too.
Reevaluate if you have budgeted each category correctly and realistically. Make adjustments as needed.
6- If You Need It, Don’t Wait To Get Help
Even when following a strict budget and possessing the best intentions, there may be a time when you need a little help making ends meet. This happens most often when a large, unexpected expense comes up such as a car repair bill or medical expense.
It’s important to realize early on in the situation that you may need some temporary help to get back on solid ground. That’s when it may be time to look into getting a fast and simple installment loan. With same-day approval and affordable interest rates, this can be a great solution to your shortchange problem.
With these tips, budgeting facts, and online tools to help, you will now be able to make your own budget, stay on track to reach your goals, and be able to enjoy the wonderful, untethered feeling that comes with financial freedom.