by Bo, September 10, 2013
Americans seem to be in debt more than ever before thanks to the economy. However, it is important to keep your credit score high and your finances clean for emergencies that are certainly down the road. Here are some basic budgeting tips on how you can work to successfully manage your finances using a budget.
This is your game plan and master plan all wrapped up into one. Be sure and make it realistic with everything accounted for. The best thing you can do is have a plan for every single dollar you have in your income and then try to stick to it as though your life depended on it. This leaves little room for impulse buys and can help you to stay on track. You should be telling your money where to go rather than you wondering every month where it all went.
Track Your Expenditures
Not only should you have a plan on where your money is going, but you should also be writing down where everything is going. This way you have a reference point to look back on and evaluate. This goes a long way in remembering what you did with your money and why. If writing things down is hard, try keeping track in your checkbook.
Using cash or some raw form of money is best because when it is gone, it is gone. There is no overcharging or talking yourself into buying something you don’t have the resources for, like you can with a credit card. The first basic tip a lot of money experts will give is to just cut up your credit cards completely and stop using them. Using these evil plastic cards is what can get you into the most debt the fastest.
It takes about three months of working with a budget to work out the kinks and get a really good idea for how you spend your money. Understanding your spending tendencies goes a long way in helping to fix problems. If you don’t know that there is a problem with overspending in certain areas, you have no idea that it should be a focal point in your spending practices.
Boundaries and Saving
Not everyone can stay on the right track all the time, so it is important to be a united team as a couple or family when it comes to sticking to the budget. Someone needs to be the person who says “no” in situations where others are weak. Working on this goal as a pair or group can ultimately bring you together, even if it doesn’t always seem that way. Try to keep the big picture in mind and remind each other that you are working toward something greater. When you say “no”, mean it. The best thing to do is to remind each other of the things you are saving for and working toward. Don’t impulse buy things in this day of get-what-you-want-when-you-want-it, because it often ends with “even if you don’t have the “money”.