Financial Spring Cleaning: Setting a Personal Budget
Spring is right around the corner! Soon it will be time to open up the windows and dust out the corners. In addition to spring cleaning your home, why not do some spring cleaning in your finances as well? Now is the perfect time to reassess where you have been, where you would like to be, and create a plan to achieve your goals. At Greenville Heritage Federal Credit Union, we want to see all of our members enjoying financial freedom and success, and we are here to offer the support our members need to achieve their goals.
If the first step is for you to successfully manage a personal or household budget, donít be intimidated. Bills and income fluctuate over time, so even if you have managed your budget for a long time, you may be in need of an update.
Step 1: List all of your monthly income. If you are a salaried employee with a single, consistent paycheck, this part is easy. If you work hourly, have multiple jobs, are self-employed, receive child support or other sources of income, it can get tricky. Look back over paychecks from the last several months and come up with an average number for each income source, and if you must guess, estimate low!
Step 2: List all your monthly expenses. Start with the largest or non-negotiable expenses such as your mortgage or rent payment, insurance, savings, debt payments, child support, car payment and utilities. Then move on to groceries, gas, cable/satellite bills, subscriptions and memberships. Donít leave anything out, even the ten dollars a month Spotify Premium subscription you forget you have most of the time. Your monthly expenses will change occasionally, like when itís time to renew the tags for the car or during the holidays, so be flexible and plan ahead.
Step 3: Record your expenses! If you set yourself fifty dollars a month for eating out, write down what you spend each time you buy lunch or get dinner with a friend. When the money is gone, stop spending for the month. If you overspend, determine what your deficit is and decide if your monthly allowance needs to be adjusted. Be disciplined and enjoy the freedom and knowing exactly where your money is going!
There are many good budget spreadsheets, apps, and other resources available. An excellent budgeting app that doesnít require you to enter your banking information is Goodbudget, available for both iPhone and Android. Goodbudget uses an envelope system and makes entering your expenses easy. The key to success will be choosing a system or software that you are comfortable with and will consistently use.
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