Learning How To Budget and Save Money
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Make a budget that is realistic to help you succeed. This might help remind you of expenses that happen every year during the same month. Of course, unexpected expenses may occur. But if there are no unexpected doctor appointments or auto repairs — and fuel expenses are less than anticipated, for example — that will help increase your savings for the month.
Budgeting to save for holiday presents on a monthly basis, for instance, is another way to be prepared for these expenses, says Ashley H. A cash-back credit card may be a smart choice for making your purchases. This is because the cash back that you earn can usually be moved into your emergency savings account or applied as a statement credit. But losing out on cash back, unless you are a part of a debit card rewards program, is a major downside. Both credit and debit card purchases automatically populate in certain budgeting apps, such as Mint.
You go to the website first, sign up and then input your banking login information. After you do this, you can then view your accounts in the app. Good Budget and Spending Tracker are other budgeting apps that both Android and iPhone users may want to check out. With these apps, you can manually enter your income and spending. Always compare prices before making a purchase. Make a commitment to comparison shop for essentials and look for coupons and sales online or in your local newspaper.
Then, buy the items with the best value.
Take the difference of the amount you paid and what you would normally spend on the item and put that money into a savings account. Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst, recommends people get started by automatically setting money aside each payday. Many employers can split your paycheck deposit into a checking account and a savings account.
The premise is that there should be enough for each of the three categories and they are balanced against one another in a split. In the book, the formula is compared to getting your cholesterol checked. Finding out your cholesterol is high means you need to correct the problem. So what can the person in our sample budget do? Fixed expenses were the biggest area of opportunity in this sample budget to potentially reallocate to wants or savings instead.
Saving is like anything else, it takes practice to get good at it. You can start small, like cutting out the lattes. All you need is an ID and a little resolve. Just be sure to keep the minimum amount in the account to avoid service fees.
How to Build a Better Budget
Get in the habit of saving and get a plan. If you lose your job, you need enough to cover three to nine months of living expenses. Expect the unexpected. Write down how much that will cost. If too much of your income is already going to credit card debt payments, you may benefit from credit counseling. Look at your budget, line by line, and figure out how to cut 10 percent from each category. For example, you can save money on your energy bills by adjusting your thermostat and insulating your home better. That can hurt, but there are ways to ease the pain. Automate your saving, meaning money is automatically deposited in a savings account and you never see it.
Separate your savings account from your checking account, and designate that your savings can only be touched in extraordinary circumstances. Botox treatments for your 25 th high school reunion are not extraordinary circumstances. Long-term saving automation is even easier. If your employer has a k plan, jump on it. The more, the better since most companies match your contribution to a point.
The key in all this is to live within your means. You never know until you ask—and you should always ask. If not, never underestimate the negotiating power of cash! Talk to your HR department to set up an account. Save money on your cell service by getting rid of extras like costly data plans, phone insurance and unnecessary warranties.
It might require a little persistence and research, but the savings are worth it. Think about it as a contentment challenge.
Make your spending freeze work by prepping meals with the food you already have, avoiding stores where you tend to impulse buy did someone say Target dollar spot? Before you shell out the cash to pay for a new backsplash, fancy light fixture or bench, think about doing it yourself!
How to Budget Your Money: Budgeting Tips to Help You Save
Usually, the cost of materials and a simple Google search will save you a ton of money on your latest home project. This one is painful—we get it! But even purchasing a bag of local beans from your neighborhood coffee shop and brewing it at home will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Most libraries also have audiobooks and digital copies of your favorite books for rent. We get it though—because we love reading too! Pro tip: Check sites like Alibris and Thriftbooks for major deals on like-new or even well-loved books. When your goal is to save money now, a vacation is the worst thing you could spend your money on.
Instead of whisking your family off to the Greek Isles, try being a tourist in your own city. Not only will this save you hundreds or potentially thousands of dollars, but you can also explore your neighborhood with fresh eyes and have some fun while doing it. Marie Kondo has the right idea. That vintage chair your aunt gave you?
Budgeters are twice as likely to report no financial worries, compared with spenders.
Sell it. That crystal vase you found at an antique shop? And the cash you can make on those things can be the difference between living paycheck to paycheck and having a fully funded emergency fund.