It doesn’t matter how rich and successful you are, you always need to be mindful of your budget. Saving money isn’t glamorous, but if you can develop some skills and strategies early on, those will soon become second nature habits. And even if you’re rolling in dough now, you never know what’s around the corner—a recession, a layoff—when you’ll be glad you worked so hard to save so much. Here are some budget tips that are extremely valuable at any stage of your career.
5 Budgeting Tips
1. Jot down your expenses
First, make a list of all your monthly expenses. This includes all of your bills, your grocery budget, items you buy for your home, gas and travel, and even the coffee you buy on your way to work. Use your credit card and bank statements to keep yourself accountable. You can do this on a spreadsheet or downloading a free digital program or app to help with the tracking. Don’t forget to include a rainy day item, like a hospital bill or a new part for your car.
2. Budget a way to save
As you list your expenses, automatically factor in a line item for savings. Aim for saving between 10 to 15% of your income. If you plan for it ahead of time
3. Find things to cut
We all have things we can eliminate from our spending. It might be that coffee and bagel you stop for every morning on your commute. It might be that new pair of shoes you seem to splurge on every few weeks or a monthly subscription that renews automatically. Or it might be one of your nights out each weekend. Either way, eliminate them! Look for things that are free or low-cost. Making coffee at home is certainly cheaper than a coffee shop.
5. Set a goal
It’s a lot easier to stay disciplined with your saving and spending if you have something specific you’re saving for. Whether it’s something short-term, like a vacation or down payment for a car or something long-term, like retirement, a tangible goal to shoot for keeps you focused.
6. Set up automatic savings
Most banks offer automated transfers between your checking and savings account, so take advantage of them. They’re a great way to “force yourself” to save. You can choose when, how much, and where to transfer money. By reducing the amount in your checking account, it helps limit the temptation to spend that amount of money. Figure out which combination of savings tools is best for you—a savings account, CD, IRA, stocks or mutual funds.
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