Think about something you would like to purchase that would require you to save up money first. Maybe the latest phone/tablet, a vacation, or supplies for your favorite hobby? Whatever it may be, there are steps you must take in order to have the financial ability to purchase these things. Thinking about budgeting and saving money can be overwhelming, so we have gathered our favorite budget tips below to get you started!
Identify Your Personal Financial Goals
Be specific here! Think about where you want to be financially in 1 year, 5 years, even 10 years. Consider big budget items like a car, renting an apartment (or owning a home), college expenses etc.
Organize/Prioritize Your Financial Goals
Keep in mind your goals will change and grow as life continues. Having the latest and greatest gadget is not as important as making sure you have the gas money so you can get to school/work. It is important to be realistic and prioritize your financial goals appropriately.
Educate Yourself On The Cost of Your Goals
Perhaps you would like to purchase a car in the next few years. But buying a car involves many more costs than just the price tag on the windshield: you will need to pay for the title/registration, car insurance, maintenance (like regular oil changes, tire rotation/replacement, and unexpected mechanical issues), and of course fuel! Especially with larger budget items, there are usually additional costs involved. Research the cost of your goals, options for where to get the funding, and how long you will need to save money for.
Develop (And Follow!) A Personal Spending/Savings Plan
You cannot budget and start saving money for your goals/dreams without first understanding where your money is currently going and NEEDS to go. Keeping track of your spending is the biggest key to saving money! There are many different options for creating a spending plan/budget: the envelope system, spreadsheets, online tools, and now many banks offer help with financial planning/management. Once you create a personal plan, STICK TO IT! It is easy to over-spend when you are not tracking your finances.
Find Ways to Stretch Your Income
There are so many ways to make your dollar stretch including couponing, shopping special sales, hunting for a bargains/price comparing etc. You might also consider renting instead of purchasing big ticket items that you know you won’t use often.
Pay Your Bills On Time
And ALWAYS make your monthly payments. Late charges and fees from late/missed payments can be rather expensive and also impact your credit score. If you ever find yourself unable to make a payment on time, call the company and ask about payment options. Chances are, they will be happy to work with you if you just take the time to communicate with them!
And Last But Not Least- SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!
If you do not already have a savings account, NOW is the time to open one! Every chance you get, put money into your savings account. Having money saved up is important for unexpected expenses but also vital to making your financial dreams a reality!