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The Basics of Budgeting and Saving Money

By | Aria Reeds

Budgeting and saving money is a practice that cannot be adapted by the people naturally for apparent reasons. Spending money on non essential commodities is easy but getting on track with a realistic budget is not as difficult as you think.

Let’s take a look at how to create a budget in helping you to reorganize your finances, prioritize spending, manage debt, and assist you in making progress towards your long-term financial goals.

Make a Classic Budget

A budget can help you to look at areas where you are spending more than you realize. It also benefits for occasional gratification and unexpected emergencies. There are four steps for creating a budget:

  1. Gather all your electronic or paper bills, receipts, pay stubs, bank statements and any other record of income or expense for a month in one place or you can just keep track of monthly income and expenditures as they happen.
  2. Make a budget worksheet employing a budget template from Google Sheets, an Excel spreadsheet or a paper and pen for your taxes (for instance, investment income or interest earned on any savings accounts) and all expenses (for instance, rent or mortgage payments, credit card payments, etc).
  3. Add each set of figures and subtract the expense total from the income total for getting a typical picture of your financial profile. If your income total is greater than the expense total then you have found more money for saving, or invest in Best investment options and paying own debt but if it’s the other way round, you have to make some choices regarding where you spend some of your money so that you can balance your budget.
  4. Categorize your expenses into fixed, variable, and discretionary expenses. Fixed expenses like your rent remain the same every month and hence constitute the basis of your budget. Variable expenses like utility bills can be reduced by doing some behavioural adjustments like turning off the lights when you leave the room and discretionary expenses that consist of wants rather than your needs and provide several opportunities for saving.

Adopt the 50-20-30 Approach

If you do not want to create a classic budget, you can structure your plan according to the 50-20-30 rule. Under this approach of budgeting, you spend:

  • 50% of your after-tax income on housing, food, and other amenities.
  • 20% on your own debt or increased savings.
  • 30% on discretionary spending.

Put Your Budget to Work

Once you figure out how much money you are spending and what position you are in, follow some vital steps that are listed below to keep your financial future secure.

● Reduce Spending and Start Saving

You can start by cutting expenditure on things that are not very essential. Ask questions to yourself: Could you make do with a smaller, second-hand car? Instead of an expensive vacation, are you willing to try a ‘staycation’? These types of choices are personal and they do not have a right or wrong answer but putting them out on a table can help you understand your priorities and some of the options that you might not have realized that you had for saving money.

The ability to save money is important, but the first step of saving is to spend less than you earn.

● Take care of your debt

Credit cards and other forms of debt can be an important part of your financial profile as they build a credit history. Exercise caution while using them. Understanding the difference between good debt and bad debt will assist you in making sure that you use credit wisely and maintain a good credit history. Simultaneously, you should look for ways to make your debt less expensive while you are paying it off. For instance, transferring your credit card balances to Zero APR can reduce the amount that you pay in interest charges and enhance your debt payoff plans.

● Reduce your Tax Burden

Nobody likes to pay taxes but they are an essential part of any financial plan.  Learn how to reduce the impact of taxes on your finances which can ensure that more money is going into your pocket and you are moving towards your financial goals. Tax planning involves claiming all the deductions and tax credits that you are eligible for, starting to invest in best sip plans or mutual funds, increasing contributions in tax-advantaged accounts like employer’s 401(k) account, an IRA or Health Savings Account as much as possible.

● Set up Automatic Savings

One of the most suitable paths toward wealth accumulation is to sign up for automatic savings. Open a savings account and link your checking account to it so that a fixed amount is automatically transferred into your savings account each month.

● Shop smart and live economically

Attempt to spend money only when it is necessary.  Plan weekly menus around less expensive, nutritious foods, and make your shopping list directly from these menus. Try to avoid visiting the store multiple times a week by designating one day a week as a shopping day. Clip paper menus to redeem them at grocery stores, drugstores, restaurants, and more. Shop for clothes, furniture, and toys at garage sales, thrift stores, and vintage shops.

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