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Each year one of the biggest New Year Resolutions is to get your budget on track, improve your budget, stick to a budget, or make a budget. Anything budget related. This seems to be one of the biggest stressors for many as well. Here are 25 tips to improve your budget, and help keep it on track all year long!
What are 3 things you can do to balance your budget?
Balancing your budget can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three tips you can use to get your finances back in order and start feeling more secure with your money: Track Your Spending – Keeping track of where each penny goes is the most important thing when it comes to balancing your budget. Set Financial Goals – Having specific financial goals helps keep us focused on our spending habits and hold ourselves accountable. Create a Budget Plan – It is vital for creating long-term success with managing finances that we create a plan for our budgeting needs so that we stick to them as well as make sure all of our other expenses conform around what is laid out in this plan (i.e., loan payments, electricity bill, etc.).
How can a budget be improved? What is the most effective way to budget?
The most effective way to budget is to begin by focusing on getting an accurate picture of your current financial situation. This means taking into account all sources of income and expenses. That way you'll have an overall understanding of what money is coming in versus going out and can use this information to create a realistic budget that's tailored to meet your needs specifically.
How do you spend money wisely?
When it comes to spending money wisely, there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, make sure you have a budget in place and stick to it. Knowing exactly how much you can spend and where makes it easier to avoid overspending or making impulsive purchases. Second, shop around for the best deals before committing – this will help you save money on big-ticket items like electronics or car repairs. Third, keep your debt levels in check by using credit responsibly and not taking on more than you can handle. Lastly, always be mindful of your long-term goals – use your savings as an investment towards future security and stability rather than simply buying stuff that gives you fleeting pleasure! If followed diligently every month, these tips should go a long way toward helping you spend money wisely!
Budget Planner Kit
This Budget Planner Kit is a downloadable PDF with a set of over 90 templates that makes budgeting quick, stress-free, and fun. Best of all, instant delivery means that you can start getting organized right away. We know that when it comes to budgeting, one size doesn't fit all. That's why this planner kit comes with a variety of templates that provide the perfect background for whatever financial goals you're trying to achieve.
25 Ways to Improve Your Budget This New Year
Set Your Goals NOW
The sooner you set your goals to improve your budget and are vocal about them the sooner you can get used to what your new spending habits will be. Being vocal about them gives you accountability.
Take Advantage of Workplace Benefits
If you qualify for benefits at your workplace make sure you take full advantage, check out what your benefits include such as a retirement account. Many employers will match up to a certain % of what you put into a 401 k. That's free money make sure you are fully funding up to what your employer will match each month!
Put Your Phone to Work
There are so many apps that help you save money. Like Card Star where you can enter all your rewards cards and have them all in one place. Help get money back on purchases with sites like Ibotta, Shopkick, and Receipt Hog.
Get on The Same Page
You need to talk with your spouse or whoever you are sharing your finances with to make sure you are on the same page and hold each other accountable. Set up monthly meetings to keep things on track for improving your budget and make adjustments as needed. See how 10 Minutes a Week with my Husband is Saving Me $100 a Month.
Saving Without Thinking About It
If you can set up an allotment in your check set it up so a certain amount of your paycheck goes right into a savings account each payday so you never even see it. Out of sight, out of mind. You can also use sites like Digit to help save money for you, it's free! Find out how Digit works.
Related: 15 Money Saving Phone Apps
How many times have you had a late bill because you lose the bill, causing you to forget about it? Go paperless and have those bills emailed to you, then you can put them in a folder until payday and you have them all in one neat spot.
Unsubscribe from your ‘great deal' and ‘sale' emails. Take away the temptation to buy and get off budget.
Focus on Paying off Debt
Improve your Credit Score
Use a free site like Credit Sesame to monitor your credit score. The better your score the better of a deal you can get on things such as car loans and mortgages.
Update Your Insurance
If you have been with your current home, car, or life insurance policy for a few years it's time to check it over and update it. More than likely you can get a better rate and are paying for things you no longer need anymore.
Take Advantage of Freebies
If you are already spending money why not take advantage of the things you can get for free from it? If you are already buying that box of cereal and it's on a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale would you pass up the 2nd one that would be free? The same concept, don't pay for that appetizer when you eat out when you can get it free for signing up for their newsletter, don't pass up free gas rewards from the grocery store you shop at, don't pass up the free shampoo samples, etc.
Related: Earn Gift Cards For Free 101
Track Your Spending
Use free sites like Mint.com and see where your money is going so you know where your budget leaks are.
Research Big Ticket Items Before Buying
Always do your research on reviews and prices before buying big-ticket items, for some people, this means anything over $100 for others that means over $1,000. You need to figure out what a big ticket item is for you and then anything over that point do your research before both reviews and price comparison.
Switch Credit Cards
If you are working on paying down credit card debt consider switching cards to one that will offer you 0% interest for a certain time frame when switching a balance over, sometimes it's for the first year. This will save you $100 or more a year depending on the balance you're transferring. This also buys you time to pay it off without collecting any more interest.
Review Account Statements and Bills
Make it a point to do a monthly review of your checking and savings accounts and your bills. Look for charges that might not be yours, showing your card number has been stolen. Watch for double charges, hidden fees, etc. As far as your bills make sure you aren't being charged for something you don't use (like a movie channel) and make sure your bills aren't fluctuating from one month to the other. I saw my internet bill went up by $10 because they added a new feature. I didn't want the feature they took it off and my bill went back down. They can be sneaky so pay attention!
Study Up on Finances
Read up on budgeting, ways to save, and ways to pay off debt. Check out my Top Money Saving Books Everyone Should Read post.
Review the Past 3 Months of Expenses
Sit down and review the past 3 months of expenses. This will give you a solid idea of what to set your budget at and where your money leaks are.
Ditch Disposable Items
Buying disposable items over and over can really kill your budget! Disposable plates and silverware are not needed they cost more than washing them! Switch to using rags instead of paper towels. You can stop using pads and tampons and use cloth. Learn more about switching to cloth pads. Some even go as far as to use washable toilet cloth….. That may not be your comfort level but it's a possibility. Of course, there is always the cloth diaper. Find out to Save Money on Cloth Diapers and How to Get Started with Cloth Diapers. Still not convinced? Check out 7 Reasons to Consider Cloth Diapers.
Related: DIY Laundry Soap
30 Day Rule
Instill the 30-day rule when making purchases that are not grocery related. Read up on the 30-Day Rule.
Bring in Extra Income
The best way to help improve your budget, of course, is to bring in some extra income. That doesn't always have to mean going and getting a 2nd job. I did a series on 52 Ways to Earn Free Money for Christmas, most of which can be done online in your spare time!
Create An Emergency Fund
This is a must, this way when an emergency pops up you aren't putting yourself back into debt to handle it. Also, notice I said WHEN not IF because something WILL come up. Put aside what you can, $20 a month is better than nothing.
If you have free time, volunteer for some of your favorite causes. This fills your free time so you are less likely to go spend money because you are bored. You get to meet new people and do something good.
Make a Fun Fund
When planning your budget do not forget the fun fund! This is a little bit of money you can spend or save up for fun things. Going out seeing a movie, lunch or drinks with friends, etc. You are much more likely to stick to your budget if you are still allowed to go out and do fun things too.
Make Sure Your Budget is Flexible
Your income can change each month as should your budget. What if you have family come into town you will need a slightly larger grocery budget. Friends Bachelorette party? You need entertainment and drinking money. Make sure you can include the car repairs that are not monthly or random work costs.
Remember nobody is perfect so give yourself some grace. Your budget isn't going to fall right into place the first month and there will be some months you miss your goals. It happens. Pick yourself up and do better the following month.
There are many ways to save money and live a better life. Evaluate your spending, find areas where you can cut back, and make a budget that works for you and your family. Give yourself some wiggle room in your budget for fun activities and unexpected expenses. Use these tips to improve your budget today!