Posted on February 28, 2017 in Uncategorized
5 Must Do’s When Creating A Budget
We’re two months into 2017 and many new year’s resolutions are starting to fall off the radar. Feeling off track with your finances? We’ve got a few creative ways to help you stick to a budget and keep your finances in check.
1. Write Out Your Budget
It’s easy to say you want to save more and spend less, but if your budget is too stringent (or you don’t have one), you’re not going to accomplish your goals. The first step in sticking to a budget is to write everything down — income, fixed expenses, savings goals, etc. We even have a budget worksheet that you can print out to start keeping track of your expenses. Remember, the key to successful budgeting is creating a realistic budget that fits your personal income, goals and lifestyle.
2. Focus On Your Goals
When you keep your goals top of mind, you’re much more likely to take the steps to reach them. Write down a list of measurable goals that you can achieve in a set amount of time.
You’ll also want to make a list of savings goals. Start with the standards: paying off debts (credit cards, student loans, etc), building a 3-6 month emergency fund, contributing to a retirement account (such as your company’s 401(k) or an IRA), but don’t sacrifice saving for the fun things in life. Want to take a road trip to the beach this summer? Now’s the time to start. You’ll avoid putting the trip on a credit card (and then having to pay the accompanying interest). When you save money for the things that matter to you – like travel, for example – you’ll appreciate the purchase that much more. You’ve earned it.
To keep your savings goals front and center, try out an app like Dobot. Not only does Dobot help you identify ways to save money by analyzing your income and spending, it also lets you assign savings to multiple goals. Instead of funding a generic “savings account”, you can fund the things you really care about and visualize your progress toward meeting those goals. Be sure to add pictures to your goals to keep you motivated!
3. Keep Yourself Accountable
It might feel like you’re the only one trying to live on a budget, but the truth is, you’re not alone. Talk to friends and family and find a buddy or two who’s willing to hold you accountable. Check out a few of our members’ cool savings challenges and other tips to keep you and your friends motivated.
As you establish a realistic budget and start saving for your goals, it’s important to celebrate each step along the way. If you spent less on your groceries this month, go to the movies or out to dinner with that extra cash. Larger milestones like paying off student loans, a car or even a mortgage are much bigger and deserve a bigger reward. Plan a celebration ahead of time so it can serve as a motivator while you’re still working towards your goal.
5. Keep a Healthy Perspective
Remember that the ultimate goal of budgeting isn’t to live on nothing—it’s to put your money to work for you, lower your stress level and improve your quality of life. It’s a tool to help you become financially confident. In fact, the more you stick to your budget, the more you just might love what it does for you.