When it comes to financial goals, one of the main areas people tend to focus on is building their savings. With April being Financial Literacy Month, it’s the perfect time to learn more about making your money work for you and taking active steps toward financial fitness.
Any sensible financial plan should begin with a budget. Budgeting is the foundation of all that one does when it comes to managing money. Learning to track and stay on budget can be challenging but is well worth it once the positive results start to manifest.
When building a monthly budget, take income and expenses into account while providing estimates for how much you make and spend on average each month.
Here are a few steps to get started:
- Make a list of fixed (same amount each month) expenses that must be paid each month such as mortgage, rent, car note, etc.
- Write the amount owed on each of these fixed expenses.
- Make a list of flexible expenses (amounts that may fluctuate from month to month) such as utilities, gas, groceries, etc.
- Write an estimate of how much each expense costs on average each month.
- Calculate your total expenses for the month.
- Subtract this amount from your monthly income (after taxes).
- The amount that is left represents your excess income that may be used for saving, entertainment or other identified needs.
Too often, when payday comes, we are eager to see money in our accounts, and budgeting falls by the wayside. Taking the time to write out your expenses on a bi-weekly or monthly basis lessens the chances that you will go over budget.
Remember, every small step is significant. If you don’t have one already, open a savings account. Each pay period, set a goal to pay yourself. It doesn’t matter if it is $10 or $100. All savings is good savings! Further, challenge yourself not to touch this money unless it is an absolute emergency. Once you see your nest egg start to grow, the feeling of accomplishment sets in.
Feeling a little more ambitious? Then try raising your monthly contribution to savings by $10 or $20. By the end of the year, you will have established a funding source for emergencies or for potential investments. The key to it all is getting started, and if you need assistance, I am here to help.
It’s your money. Get empowered with information. Happy Financial Literacy Month!
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*Securities and advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through Atled Financial Group 717 B Main Street Schererville, IN 46375 which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial.