Helpful Tips on Budgeting
Here are ten pointers for your first budget, courtesy of Dave Ramsey’s blog:
1. Budget to zero before the month begins. That means every dollar gets a name before you spend a dime of it.
2. If you’re married, you and your spouse need to do the budget together. Period. The preacher said ” . . . and you are one.” If you’re single, find someone who can act as your accountability partner.
3. Every month is different (think birthdays, vacations, car insurance, back-to-school supplies), so be sure to adjust your budget monthly.
4. As you’re budgeting, start with your most important categories first, like giving, housing, food, clothing, insurance and bills. Then, fill in the rest of your budget with your leftover cash.
6. Don’t be afraid to make budget cuts. If your budget is tight, save money by canceling cable, eating out less, and shopping at a discount grocery store. You can always rearrange things next month.
7. If pen and paper (or spreadsheets) aren’t your thing, try our free online budget tool, EveryDollar. You can make your budget and track your spending from the comfort of your smartphone! Plus, you can sync up your budget with your spouse.
8. Use the cash envelope system for as many budget categories as it makes sense. For example, keep paying for gasoline with your debit card, but get cash out for your fun money and clothing cash. Once your envelope is empty, stop spending! It’s the ultimate accountability partner.
9. Give yourself lots of grace. It usually takes three to four months to get this whole budgeting thing down pat. It won’t be perfect the first time, or the second. But you’ll get there!
10. Be content. You have much more than you realize. Don’t compare your situation to anyone else’s. Keep moving forward and doing what’s right for your family.
To learn more about getting your finances and credit in shape, contact your Financial Education Service Agent.