Budgeting is necessary for most of us. It’s a grueling task that can be intimidating, boring even, but you have to face it with all your courage, because if not, you may end up with nothing.
If 2020 put a hurting on your wallet, this year, 2021, is the best time to start having solid financial goals.
In this article, we will share some budgeting tips so that when this year ends you can have an ample amount of savings in your bank account and have several investments growing.
It’s not always easy to stick to a budget but there are ways and techniques that can help you reach your goal.
How do you start?
1. Start with an achievable goal
Be specific and set a measurable amount. For example, if you want to save $100 each per month, you have to save $14.28 each week. When you are doing this consistently you will be able to save $3,600 in three years.
Or, let’s say you want to save $5,000 for a car that you will purchase in five years. How much money do you have to make each month to reach it? Applying the scenario in your mind will help you conceptualize your budget.
Do you have an emergency fund or insurance? This is crucial.
When the pandemic hit last year, people were rattled when the lockdown started, especially those who didn’t have savings and lost their jobs. You will never know what’s coming and life can be unpredictable. You should always save something for a rainy day.
Experts suggest that you should have about 3-6 months of daily expenses saved up.
On the other hand, insurance will make sure you won’t fall flat on your face or go broke and homeless when you get sick and have used up all of your savings.
2. Keep an Excel sheet of your budget-write it down
We are all kinesthetic learners or I’d like to think so! (Don’t quote me on this, please.)
However, for me, when I write things down, it’s easier for me to realize the seriousness of the repercussions of my spending.
You can download some budgeting apps such as PocketGuard. There are plenty of budgeting apps that you can choose from, available online. Or do it old school: write it on your planner/journal.
If you’re great with Microsoft Excel, put your expenses there including your recurring bills and leisure expenses.
From the best-selling book You Were Born Rich by Bob Proctor, this is how you should be able to save:
There are a lot of practical saving tips in the book and I suggest you read it.
Now, once you have written all your expenses you will have an idea of how much money goes out vs. how much you make. You can finally figure out a realistic goal and how to reach it, along with adjustments you need to make in order to achieve it.
3. Budgeting is mainly paying attention to your spending
You work hard to earn money and, of course, you deserve to pamper and reward yourself with the fruits of your labor. But how far should you indulge?
For you to achieve your financial goals, you should sacrifice some of your expenses. However, you should keep the ones that matter most to you.
How much would you save in a month if you cut back on drinking coffee from Starbucks to two times a week versus every day? Things such as waxing, laser hair removal, manicures, and pedicures fall under maintenance and grooming but if it hurts your budget, you may have to make a compromise.
Do you really need a gym membership or can you get fit at home? The less you spend, the more you save. Think about it.
4. Budgeting wisely is: going shopping ONLY when you have extra money, or only when you truly need something
Now, before you say anything else, I’m not saying debt is a bad thing. Debt can help you purchase expensive items that you actually need that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, for example, a washing machine or a new refridgerator. Besides, using your credit card and paying them on time is good for your credit score. Speaking of credit score…
Why do you need a good credit score? Good credit allows you to borrow money in the future for your house, retirement, and other lifestyle choices.
My point is, you should not go shopping unless you need to.
It won’t hurt your soul if you don’t have the latest pair of shoes in season.
Yes, shopping is satisfying but it’s actually irrational to buy something you do not need and won’t use until months or years later. It will only add clutter to your closet if you don’t use these purchases right away.
When there’s a sale and you buy something you don’t need, you didn’t really save. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you always save money.
5. Look into investments
While you’re still young and you are able to work, grow your money. Here’s an article from bankrate.com on low-risk investments you can try. It includes corporate bonds, dividend-paying stocks, and more.
Before you start investing, do your research THOROUGHLY. Don’t invest in something you don’t understand.
Knowledge is power and so is, anticipation.
Wishing you success
Budgeting is not as hard as it seems. It is intimidating, yes. But if you have the right tools and the correct mindset, budgeting will just be second-nature.
It’s a smart thing to be mindful of what you spend to make sure that the money you earned through your hard work won’t go down the drain.