No-one likes to hear the word budget. However, budgeting is the only way you can really get a good picture of how much money you have coming in and going out. If you want to finally take control of your finances, I have created some fun ideas that will help you stay on track and finally save for the future.
If you follow these tips and apply them every day, you will soon become the master over your money, instead of money being the master of you.
1. Gather all of your bills and calculate how much money has to go out every month. Don’t calculate in groceries, or gas just yet, that will come later. Once you get a good idea of how much money you need every month just to pay your bills, you will have a foundation you can work with and you will see how much money you need every month to keep a roof over your head, and a car to drive, if you have a car payment. Once you establish that figure, subtract it from your total monthly bring home pay.
2. Now, two scenarios can come into play here.
a. Either you have more money left over than you thought, and you are wondering where in the heck all of your money is going.
b. Or, you don’t have money left over to buy groceries and gas.
If you have more money than you thought, you are good and a budget can get you back on track to saving money and paying down some of the credit card bills. (Go to step 3) However, if you don’t have enough money to buy groceries or gas, then you need to assess the bills you owe and see if you can consolidate or cut down on your cable or phone bill. Still, just cutting down on you utilities probably won’t leave you much money to save for a rainy day. In order to get you back on track you might want to consider a debit consolidation service such as National Debit Relief. After you sign up to consolidate your credit cards and have extra money to save, follow the steps below to become the master of your money.
3. Now that you have a figure you can work with, subtract the amount you need for gas, and groceries. The amount left over is what you need to pay very close attention to, this is what you will use to budget entertainment, savings, gifts, etc.
4. Now here comes the fun part! Decide how much money you absolutely have to have for entertainment and the little extras that come along each month. If you like to go to the movies, budget going to the movies once a month. Make that your reward for sticking to the budget. If you have birthday gifts you have to purchase, put a limit of $25.00 on each gift, or less. Stop buying coffee, and sodas at the convenient stores every time you stop to fill up. You will be amazed at how much money you can save.
5. Next, decide how much money you can save each month. Then multiply that amount by 12. This is the amount you will have in savings at the end of twelve months. Make it a realistic amount, but also challenge yourself to save as much as you can. Get excited about the amount of money you are going to save! Multiply it by five years, and see how much money you could have if you stick to the budget. Example: If you save $300.00 a month for twelve months you will have $3,600.00 at the end of the year. That doesn’t sound like much, but if you multiply $3,600.00 X 5 years, you could have $18,000.00, which is a substantial amount of money in savings. Play around with the math, and see how much you can save without putting a strain on your family.
6. Once you have a figure that you want to save every month in mind write it down, along with the amount you will have at the end of the year and put it on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, and on the dashboard of your car. This way you will always be reminded of how much money you will have if you stick to the budget. Every morning when you wake start dreaming of what you’re going to do with all of that money, give yourself a pep talk, and get excited!
7. When you get paid, take the amount that you have calculated for savings and immediately put it into a savings account, CD account, or whatever you deem fit for your needs. (I will discuss the best saving accounts later in another blog.) If you need to split up the amount between paydays that’s fine. If you plan on saving $300.00 a month, you can put $150.00 into savings at the first of the month, and then another $150.00 on the 15th of the month. Or you can take out the amount that totals $300.00 weekly, whichever way works with you pay schedule.
8. There’s a lot of way to help you stay on top of your money, one way is to down load a free money app on your phone or computer. There are several out there; just read about each one and decided which one will work best for you.
If you finally want to take control of your finances make a budget and stick to it, dream big and believe. Your future is in your hands!