When it comes to budgeting your money, there’s certainly no shortage of ways for us to spend it—food, rent, retirement accounts, a down payment on a house, gym memberships, gifts … you get the picture.
When it really comes down to it, the answer is different for everyone. You may be in a hurry to pay off debt, so you’re willing to spend less on eating out in the meantime. Or you might live in a city where rent is expensive, so you have to allocate more of your paycheck to housing.
We’ve created a 12 month money goal plan if you’re looking to save, budget and spend your money the right way!
- Commit to a Budget
Commit to at least one month of sticking to a budget as best as you can and make adjustments when necessary. Download phone apps such as Mint or Illuminate to easily track your spending. If you have your bank app on your phone, they usually have the option to help you budget your money. You set a goal each month and the app will tell you if you go over your limit and what you’re spending the most money on.
- Talk to your Significant Other
Financial harmony is key to successful marriages according to recent research. Have an open conversation about each others views and goals when it comes to spending money. Collaborate with each other to set a budget – having support can be very helpful to sticking to how much money you spend per month.
- Set a Savings Goal
Ask yourself, “What do you want to save for?” or “What number do you need to hit?” Try to be specific about how much you need to save each month in order to meet your goal. Are there certain expenses, such as buying coffees or going out to dinner every night, that you can cut back on and save some money?
- Look at your Retirement Plan
When was the last time you looked at your retirement plan? Make sure you’re utilizing any company matching program and that your contributions are enough to hit your retirement goals. Do your research and be sure to look up different types of plans that will meet your specific needs!
- Help Protect Your Ability to Earn Money
Could you go without your paycheck? If not, take this month to educate yourself on short and long-term disability insurance and whether or not getting a policy makes sense to you.
- Invest in Home Improvements
Home-selling season is in full-swing when the spring season arrives. Research affordable ways to make your home more marketable, like installing new cabinets, sinks, etc. Prioritize which updates you can do now and which ones you might need to save for.
- Get a Debt Pay Off Plan
There are a number of strategies that you can implement that can help you prioritize which debt you should pay off first. Generally it’s best to start with paying off your credit cards because your FICO score is important to keep in the “good” range so that if you need to take out a loan for a car or home you can.
- Get Life Insurance
To provide protection for your family, make sure the policy you have is full coverage. If you don’t have life insurance yet, take a look at the difference between term vs whole life insurance and consider the benefits of purchasing a policy.
- Prepare for Open Enrollment
Towards the end of the year it’s best to do some research so you don’t lose money when the new year arrives. Utilize online calculators to help determine if you’re saving enough money for your retirement plan or if you have any gaps in life insurance.
- Book Flights if Traveling in Advance
The best time to book flights is 21-115 days in advance of your trip. Research what flights give you the best deal and what time of the month has the cheaper options in order to save some money.
- Practice Gratitude
“Counting your blessings” not only helps improve your stress and happiness but it can help you feel content about what you already have. Contentment – more happiness and less spending.
- Try not to Online Shop
Can you go one month without spending a dime on online shopping or going to the mall to purchase makeup, clothes or accessories that you don’t really need? Put whatever money you might spend on these products into a savings account and watch your money go up.
Well, there it is. Try to use these tips each month in order to create a good budgeting plan so that you can meet your goals and save some extra cash that you might need to use in the future.