Everyone has one. Or at least, should have one since we all have to balance our spending with income. Good money management should be a basic skill that each person possesses.
And yet, money consistently comes out on top as the #1 stress for individuals and families.
Allie and I spent far too long fumbling with our spending and being in and out of debt. Eventually though, by being intentional about it and using the strategies below, we have been able to move our spending well inside our income amount. We have no debt, a growing savings account and we are able to do things like spontaneously going on mini holidays or buying a new smart phone.
Maybe you’re like I used to be; the thought of a ‘budget’ made me feel confined, limited and stressed. Or maybe you’re a rock-star and you’ve got the most detailed and well functioning personal financial operations….
Here are 7 smart budgeting tips that will help you in 2017:
- Know your income. Successfully managing your money means only spending what you have. If you don’t know your monthly income you will find it very challenging to stay inside that amount and avoid going into credit debt.
- Be extremely detailed. One of the biggest mistakes I used to make in managing money was not being detailed enough. For example, spending $2.08 for a coffee at Tim Horton’s twice a day doesn’t seem like a big deal and you might be tempted to overlook it in your budget. But after 1 month of a coffee twice a day, 5 days a week, you’ve spent $83.20 of whatever you brought in as income. It adds up fast and can put a bigger hole in your budget then you realize.
- Communicate. If it’s just you, then this just means to be aware of what you’re spending where and when. But if there are more then 1 person working off the same budget, spending a little extra time sitting down together to make sure everyone is on the same page will save you from blowing the budget without knowing it.
- Don’t borrow from next month. I used to do this all the time when I was justifying a ‘one time’ expense that I didn’t want to wait for. It might seem like you’re adding flexibility to your life but in actual fact you’re just throwing next month into bankruptcy. If you can’t fit in this month, try temporarily reducing your spending on something like fast food, so you’ll have extra cash at the end of the month.
- Use an app. Budgeting apps can be extremely helpful. Need to budget on the fly, try an app like Mint that tracks your spending and account balances, letting you stay on top of how you’re doing in real time. Or try an app like Apple Numbers to put together your budget on your smart phone while you wait for the bus.
- Have an Emergency Fund. Want to know the fastest way to blow up your budget once you get it running well? Unexpected expenses. Having an emergency account (with money in it) will help you manage sudden one time expenses that you can’t plan for.
- Aggressively pay down credit Card debt. It might seem like a convenient way to manage expenses but it will cost you. A lot. Most credit cards will charge you 19% interest on any balance you carry. If you took 5 years to pay off a balance of $5000.00, with a monthly payment of 129.70, you will have paid $2782.17 in interest. You can see that it is in your best interest to pay off credit debt and ultimately keep that money in your pocket!
Well thanks for taking the time to read through these 7 strategies! If you found any of these helpful or you think of one I missed, please comment below. I would love to hear feedback and I will implement it in future posts.
All the best!