Creating a monthly budget can help you stay disciplined and make good financial choices. Learn more about how to manage your money. Protect your economic well-being by creating good money habits now!
Check over and update your budget every month for accuracy. Look for opportunities to reduce costs or plan ahead. This will help you stay on track to save more and spend less.
Use categories like utilities, transportation, food, etc. This should include major items like rent and a car payment, and even small cash purchases.
Before a major purchase, think it over for 30 days to see if you actually need it, not just want it.
Anticipate due dates for bills, birthdays, seasonal events, and holidays. This will help you save early while also ensuring bills are paid on time. Set savings aside for unexpected medical bills or car repairs. Budget for the occasional date night to reward yourself, too.
Online tools such as Mint.com or even a simple spreadsheet will work. Always budget starting with the money you take home.
Some financial advisors recommend saving enough to cover 3-6 months of expenses and at least three times your annual salary for retirement. This may sound difficult but setting small goals first can build up larger ones later. For example, if you earn $2,000 a month and save 10% of that, at least $50 a week can be realistic. Creating two separate savings accounts, one for an emergency fund and one for holiday funds, could help ensure you aren’t using up your savings for day-to-day expenses.
Shop with cash and avoid using credit cards - they encourage overspending. Leave credit cards at home and use them only for emergencies. Maxing out your credit card could also hurt your credit score. Only paying the monthly minimum can cost you much more in interest than if you make bigger payments. A good rule of thumb is “don’t spend more than you make.”