PLAN TO WIN
Becoming a master of your finances is a process that takes time, consistency, and commitment. In order to stay on track with your goals, you need to devise a plan you can stick to. This is otherwise know as a "budget."
BUILD YOUR STRATEGY
Write down short, medium, and long term goals- this will help you to build your strategy. Keep these goals somewhere you can easily refer back to!
Short term goals are ones that you can achieve a few months from now.
Medium term goals are those you'd like to achieve in a few years.
Long term goals are ones you'd like to achieve in the distant future. Examples include: paying off your mortgage or retirement.
Now that we have some goals, pick and modify a strategy to keep you accountable. Below are 4 budgeting strategies that can be used and modified to best suit your needs:
Use this template to help coordinate how your income is utilized. The original formula is a follows:
50% of your total income goes to needs
30% goes to wants
20% goes to saving, investing, and debt repayment
Modify this to fit the cost of living in your area or to be more aggressive in the saving/investing/debt repayment category.
Put every dollar you earn to work.
With this method, what comes into your account each month is also what goes out of your account each month.
This does not mean you are spending every cent. You may simply be redirecting your income out of your checking and into your saving or your retirement accounts, in addition to paying your bills.
The point is that none of your income is sitting idle and you reach a zero balance by the end of the month.
CASH ENVELOPE METHOD
If you feel like you need a hands-on method to help you stay on track, then this is for you.
This system is easy to implement and all it requires are some envelopes and your cash.
First create envelop categories
Then set budgeted amounts for each category on a monthly basis
Lastly, fill each envelope category with those budgeted amounts in cash
Spend only what you've put in each envelope every month.
PAY YOURSELF FIRST METHOD
Okay, so maybe you are not a fan of keeping track of every cent or maybe you already have "conscious" spending down. Give this low maintenance method a shot.
Automate your paycheck to first deposit funds into your savings and retirement accounts prior to the funds hitting your checking account.
This can be scheduled through your online banking or set up via direct deposit with most employers.
Once this is done, you can spend the remaining amount freely without restrictions. Just make sure to only spend what you have!