For some people, the thought of actually having to create a plan for spending their money is enough to bring on feelings of panic and stress. Even if you consider yourself to be a relatively well-organized person, there’s a good chance that you don’t spend your days looking forward to a chance to sit down and count every penny in your bank account.
However, although managing your cash can feel like quite a challenge to begin with, it’s a lot simpler than it seems. If you’re willing to dedicate some time and effort to figuring out your cash strategy, then you could end up with more savings in your pocket by the end of the month.
Here are some quick ways that you can make your budgeting life a little easier.
1. Come to Terms with Loans
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to handling their finances, is assuming that they need to avoid loans at all costs. However, loans aren’t a dirty word. They’re actually a very valuable way to spread the cost of various expenses over a longer and more manageable period of time. If you need to invest in a new car or a new kitchen so that you can continue looking after your family, then a loan could be a great tool.
The key to success is figuring out how to choose the right lending options for your needs. Before you rush into anything, check out what kind of lending opportunities are available, and do your research. You might be surprised by the deal you get.
2. Always Have Goals
Budgeting isn’t always easy. Although it doesn’t always mean that you have to give up everything that you enjoy, there’s a good chance that you’re going to cut down on at least some things. That can mean that you occasionally hit rough patches that make it difficult to stick to your budget.
One way to stop yourself from lashing out and over-spending, is to make sure that you have goals in mind to keep yourself motivated. A long-term goal that you can constantly work towards, and a few short-term goals will remind you why you’re making the effort to cut your spending in the first place.
3. Find a Budgeting Strategy
For some people, budgeting is as simple as watching how much cash they have coming in each month and being careful about the amount of money that goes out of their account. For other people, it’s important to have a strict strategy in place. For instance, one common option is to try the 50-30-20 budget. This means that you put fifty percent of your income towards the expenses that you have to pay for, like bills, low-cost auto insurance, and groceries.
The other thirty and twenty percent can be put into your savings and your discretionary spending. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re going to put more money into your savings, or more into your pocket. Don’t be afraid to try it both ways.
4. Leave Room for Unexpected Surprises
No matter how well you budget, there’s always a chance that something unexpected will come along and ruin your plans. Because of this, it’s important to have a strategy in place for what you’re going to do if you end up with more bills or more expenses than you expected. Putting a small amount of your cash away into a separate emergency fund each month is a good way to get started.
Eventually, the aim should be to put a decent amount of cash into your emergency fund – perhaps enough for up to three months of income. That way, if you’re ever struck with a sudden emergency, like a car breakdown or an illness, you’re covered.
5. Revisit your Strategy
Finally, just as it’s difficult to prepare for all of the possible expenses that might come your way with a budget, it’s also difficult to know for certain what’s going to happen next in your life. You might have more or less money next month than you did this month, which means that you need to come back and revisit your strategy again later.
Making time to sit down with your budget and decide whether it’s actually still working for you is a good way to ensure that you’re always putting the right amount of cash away for your bills, your savings, and your emergency expenses. You might even find that you encounter ways to save one month that you didn’t think of before.