One of the best things about having money is spending it, but that can lead to problems if you don’t have a clear idea of where your finances are. Perhaps you’re looking to buy a newer car or a bigger home, or maybe you’re looking forward to a family vacation or private getaway. If you’re thinking, “Where can I find title loans near me?”, or if you have an upcoming expense to plan for, a budget is the best way to balance your dreams with your income. Here are 4 tips to make you a budget-building expert in no time.
If you’ve got a working budget, you already know the benefits of managing your finances and knowing exactly how much money you have coming in and going out. Once you have a rough outline of your monthly income and expenses, there’s one tried and true strategy that you can use as the framework to any new budget: the 50/20/30 Rule. With this plan, 50% of your income goes toward essentials like rent or mortgage and 20% toward savings, leaving 30% for entertainment and recreation.
You’d be surprised by how fast that 20% you set aside each month grows. If it’s not growing fast enough to meet your particular targets, you can try forgoing some of the 30% you would devote to your discretionary fund to get your there. This is a smart and simple template to help you meet your financial goals by mapping out your finances. When every dollar has a purpose, you’ll find that your budget ultimately ends up building itself.
One of the things that makes budgeting most challenging is that it feels like a lengthy and time-consuming process, instead of routine maintenance. The fact is, simple is best when it comes to creating a budget, and routine maintenance is probably the best approach you can take. Find the time, make the time, and just do it. Give yourself a time and place to review your finances so you know how much you’re making and exactly where it’s all going. By simply devoting a few hours a month to make the small adjustments to keep your budget on track, you’ll soon find that it becomes easier with each passing month.
It’s not enough to know where your money is going – you have to make sure your money is going to the right places. If you know about how much you spend and you want to you reduce it, make a game plan. Study your spending. Maybe your daily latte at Starbuck’s or eating fast food for lunch every day is eating away at your potential savings. Or perhaps that LA Fitness membership that’s been going unused or the interest rates on your MasterCard are the bane of your budget. Identify your problem areas and consider some possible solutions. Spending a little more at the grocery store will help you spend less at the McDonald’s drive-thru, and having a budget already in place can help you avoid the stress that comes with only making your minimum payments. Understanding your income, your spending habits and where you can cut corners is a vital part of getting back in control of your finances instead of relying on title loans.
Making your monthly payments on time is the only way to avoid late penalties. If you have the funds to make those payments, but you’re not the best at remembering to make them, setting up automatic payments could help you manage your budget like a boss. Automating your payments is one way to ensure your bills don’t go unpaid just because you have a lot on your mind. This is a double-edged sword however; you don’t want to lose the money you saved in late fees to come back as overdraft fees later.
Possibly the most crucial and obvious part of making a budget is actually sticking to it, but that’s easier said than done. If you’ve taken the time and made the effort to create a budget, you owe it to yourself to really give it your best shot. Make sure the basics are covered, make time to work on your budget, identify your problem areas, and automate whenever possible. Whether your goals are to afford some upgrades for your daily life, a vacation to break up that routine, or simply to have more spending money left over after all the bills have been paid, you can use these tips to make a better budget and save way more than just a little green.