Budgeting is essential, allowing you to create a plan for the things you need, things that are important and prepare you for emergency situations. Budgeting will also allow you to significantly reduce your debt and the opportunity to invest towards your future, tuck money away for your children’s college fund, vacations, etc. “Budgeting” tends to have a “fun-sucker” reputation for many couples or those who are trying to figure out how to budget for the first time. Many view it as a way to take all the fun out of spending money – no more eating out, shopping or golf outings. That is not the case nor the purpose of a budget.
No matter how old you are or your current economic status, everyone benefits from a budget. A budget is one of the most successful tools for your financial future because it shows how much money you have coming in and how your money is being spent. Staying in tune with your budget will help you stay in control and get the most out of your money.
There are four easy ways to keep track and monitor your income and pay attention to your spending.
1. Pen and paper: This is the by far the oldest method and the least expensive. Simply write down all sources of income and then all expenses. If the two balance, you’re ahead of the game.
2. Spreadsheet: Microsoft excel is something that nearly everyone has installed on their computer. Many sites offer free samples and you can access a free personal monthly budget template here. This will help you stay organize, itemize your resources and expenses as well as the math. You can sort your categorized your expenses to determine overall spend as well as income. You can even sort by month and forecast your budget for holiday spending or special occasions such as an upcoming graduation, wedding or the purchase of a new car. There are a plethora of ways to maximized your budget sheet. If you feel overwhelmed, one of our team members will be more than happy to assist so you can make the most of your budget sheet.
3. Online software / apps: There are many free programs and apps available, enabling you to create a budget tracker, shopping lists, etc., allowing you to take charge of your finances. With the technology built in to our cell phones and other mobile devices, these tools can help you stay on track in real time, removing opportunities to overspend, splurge and buyer’s remorse. A couple of resources that you can check out are “Mint.com” and “EveryDollar.com”.
4. Financial software: There are also several financial programs, desktop and cloud based, that you can use that allow you to have complete transparency, particularly if you have multiple resources of income that in turn create multiple outlets for expenses. “Quickbooks” and “Microsoft Money” are two leading software programs that you can check into.
Overall, you want to set goals, calculate your income and expenses, monitor your budget sheet, revisit from time to time to see how you can maximize your money and stay committed to the process. Many who are new to budgeting find it difficult to stay disciplined in the very beginning. If you can find a way to stick to the plan, we promise that the rewards are great and the satisfaction of accomplishment in itself is very gratifying. If you would like to chat with one of the True Realty team members to answer questions or lead you to a financial adviser, please give us a call @ 720-305-0757.