Budgeting can be an overwhelming prospect for a lot of people. How do you know how much you spend? How much do you earn? How do you deal with emergencies? Answering all these questions at the same time can seem like a daunting task, and a headache that’s easier not to deal with.
Budgets are powerful tools for financial stability, though, and they don’t have to be a hassle if they are set up properly. There are a couple of key elements that go into this process, but the key is to simply be disciplined and take things one at a time. In that spirit, here are 4 tips to make budgeting easier for you.
This is always the most important part of creating a budget. It may seem obvious how much you make each month: just look at your paycheck, right? Not exactly. A lot of jobs will vary month to month. Tips in the service industry, hours for part-time jobs, and commission bonuses are all examples of jobs that don’t have consistent paycheck amounts.
For these kinds of jobs, the best way of predicting your future income is to graph out all your paychecks for the last year. Study the spikes and valleys and figure out why they’re there. A lot of time your income changes based on the season. That knowledge can be applied to the future so you predict which months will be feast, and which will be famine.
This may sound like a pain, but there are quite a few financial apps and programs that can automatically track your spending and group it into different categories without also drowning you in receipts you manually have to input. Mint is an especially popular app, but there are many others to choose from depending on your needs.
The tricky part with these types of apps is that it’s easier for them to track spending on your credit cards than your debit card. As loath as you should be to use a credit card for all your expenses, if you’re completely certain you can pay it off in full by the end of each month, use a credit card can make tracking your spending much easier.
Just like tracking your expenses, there are many other parts of budgeting that can be made easier with technology. For example, one concrete way to cut down on the inconvenience of being on a budget is to stop moving money between your bank accounts manually and use direct deposit and bill pay. Everything financial that can be automated should be. We’re all busy, and keeping track of a budget is just something we don’t always have time for.
How much we enjoy doing something can vary wildly depending on how we look at it. When it comes to budgeting, try not to think of it as a chore, but instead as a game. After all, trying to figure out how to live as inexpensively as possible while still paying your bills is a kind of puzzle. Get creative with new ways to minimize your expenses, and congratulate yourself on every penny you save.
These 4 tips will make setting up a budget that responsibly handles your finances easy. If after working through them you find you still come out short on a given month, an installment loan may be right for you. Installment loans can help you out of tough situations while also giving you the option to pay them back over time. Fill out our simple online request form and get connected to a licensed installment loan lender serving your area today.