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The First 4 Basics to Start Budgeting

Whether you are just starting out in life or nearing the age of retirement, it is always a good idea to get more comfortable with managing your money. Creating a budget does not have to be about sacrifice and struggle - it can be introduced into your normal routine rather easily. Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to money management, so you will need to determine whether you can do it on your own or will need to seek help from a professional. In essence, the process is little more than getting familiar with your spending habits, understanding where your income goes, and the determining the difference between your wants and needs.

Understanding Your Expenses

The first step to budgeting is to schedule some time to become more familiar with your money and where it goes. Set aside an hour or two to document all of your monthly expenses, including your rent/mortgage, utility bills, car payments, and credit card payments. Once you have completed your list of expenses, simply subtract the total from your net monthly income. Your monthly income can consist of wages, child support, SSI, unemployment, or any other form of compensation you receive. After subtracting your expenses from your monthly income, what are you left with?

Spend in Moderation

The money that is left can be used in whatever way you choose. If you are just starting out, saving for retirement may not be on the top of your list, although it should be. If you begin saving at an early age, you will stand a much better chance of having the money you need to enjoy your golden years in comfort. With that being said, you may still want to live and enjoy life in the here and now. Dining out, traveling and shopping may be your top priorities at this point in your life, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Like all things in life, the key is in moderation. You can still enjoy yourself and have a full and exciting life - just make the commitment to save a certain amount for retirement each and every month, no matter what. No one should work their whole life with nothing to show for it. Putting yourself on a budget could be as simple as going out to eat or ordering delivery two times a week instead of four. These small changes can have a big impact on your budget, freeing up the money you need to invest in your future.

Get Creative

If you want to stick to a budget but don’t want the financial pinch to affect your lifestyle, start by making small changes. Get creative in areas like your weekly trip to the supermarket. For example, instead of buying name brand products, opt for the more affordable store brands. Most of the time, you won’t find any difference in quality but you’ll certainly see more money in your bank account. Another way to save big is by buying used clothing from consignment stores or thrift shops instead of heading to the mall whenever you need a new outfit.

Use the Resources Out There

And speaking of shopping, if it is one of your biggest budgetary expenses, you probably spend hours surfing the web searching for bargains. With the ability to buy from anyone or anywhere in any part of the world with a touch of your finger, you can find amazing deals. Along with access to an infinite variety of products, you can also find online coupons and promotions that provide even bigger savings at checkout. Technology is a great thing because any money you save can be added directly to your savings.

If you are already overextended and need a hand with getting your finances back on track, taking a look at alternative funding products could be the right choice for you. A little assistance can go a long way, so don’t wait until things get out of hand. For example, an installment loan could give you same-day cash amounts up to $3,000 and a variety of repayment options that are geared toward your convenience.