Life is expensive. Frustrating as that statement may be, it’s certainly no secret. So how exactly do you manage a budget when things are so tight, financially? As you navigate your salary, bills and the impact each has on your bank account, keep these tips in mind to effectively manage your budget.
Consider What You’re Taking In Monthly
For most of us, this simply means you should know what your salary for the month is (if you’re paid bi-weekly, simply combine those payments to determine the monthly income).
Additionally, if you have consistent part-time work or side hustles to include in these considerations, make sure you are factoring in those details. One-off payments (for instance, Birthday checks), shouldn’t be factored in here, as it’s not a consistent monthly source of income.
Consider Your Monthly Bills
Next, you’ll want to factor out every monthly bill you have, regardless of the size. This means you shouldn’t be stopping once you factor in rent or mortgage payments, gas, electric and water bills – but should also be including applicable student loans, cable bills (and any supplementary subscription services), your average monthly grocery bill, your average monthly car expenditures, etc.
Your monthly bills likely eat into a majority of your monthly income, so you should take this opportunity to determine exactly what those expenses look like in total so you can see what you’re left with on a monthly basis.
Split the Difference
As mentioned above, you should be splitting the difference between your monthly income and your monthly bills to determine how much (if any) is left. This is the foundation you need to base all other “optional” expenditures on.
Limit Extraneous Spending
Spending money on “wants” can get out of hand rather quickly, so it’s important you set a hard limit for yourself on a monthly or weekly basis.
Build an “In Case of Emergency” Fund
Sometimes, larger expenses arise that can’t be covered from a single month’s “fun money” savings. Rather than splurging whenever you feel like it, plan for these larger expenditures!
Things can go wrong at any moment, whether that’s the need for a new household appliance, a hospital visit, a popped car tire, etc., and there’s no way to plan for that. However, you can set aside money every month that adds up over time from which you can pull emergency funds when needed. This effectively prevents you from draining your savings and ensures you’re covered, even in the event of an emergency.
Granted, saving consistently over time isn’t always a possibility, but when it is, make sure you’re playing the long game.
Set Goals – Put the Rest in Savings
When possible, you want to be sure you’re saving your money for the long run. Yes, this means you should be simply saving money and not touching it. Set a high goal for yourself – this way, you’ll always remember to put some money away if you can each month. You can even set a certain percentage to come off the top to go straight to savings before any spending happens.
Budgeting is no fun, but it is necessary if you want to build a solid savings that you can rely on and invest with over time. When it comes to managing your budget, you should always be on top of your income versus expenditures, and monitor your spending, regardless of where it’s funneling.