B is for Budgets and How to Find the Best One for You

B is for Budgets and How to Find the Best One for You

Create a budget and stick with it! This statement gets thrown around a lot here at ZFA and at many other financial advisory offices. And while we all know that this is good advice that we should follow, “budget” isn’t a one-size-fits-all term. So often, we are left wondering how to budget and how to stick with it?

There are many different types of budgets and many different reasons to create one. Perhaps you need to save to buy a house or send your kids to college. Maybe you are planning your retirement or just want to take control of your finances. Or perhaps you are planning for something smaller, a vacation or a gym membership. Whatever the reason may be, it is never a bad idea to create a budget.

How to Get Started

The best way to start is by reviewing all your receipts and bills to help you figure out how much money you spend per month. You can do this by looking back through your bank statements and receipts to help you figure this out, and then start recording what you spend for an entire month to get the most accurate portrayal of what you spend money on. Then, calculate how much income you make each month. Hopefully, you are making more than you are spending. If not, it may be time to reassess some of your habits.

How to Create Your Budget

Now that you know a little more about your day-to-day finances, you can pick what kind of budget you need. There are so many different types of budgets, it can be challenging to know which one is best for you. First, decide the reason for your budget. For example, are you paying down lots of debt or saving for your future? Having financial goals in mind can help you decide if you want to go for a zero-based or 50/30/20 budget. Click here or talk with your financial advisor today to pick a budget that fits your unique financial situation.

How to Stay on Track

This is the tricky part. Anyone can say they are on a budget, but can they keep up with one? The best way to keep up with the budget that YOU picked for YOU is to make it easier for YOU. A big factor involved in staying with your budget is keeping track of your spending. So keep track in the way that makes the most sense to you. This could be through an app, in a notebook, or with an envelope of cash. Do whatever feels best for you. And don’t forget to budget in some non-necessities for yourself. Whether it be a cup of coffee weekly or a movie, it is important to not feel deprived so you won’t derail yourself later. And if that happens, don’t worry. Just get back on track as soon as possible, without beating yourself up about it!

Budgeting can be difficult and complicated. But by having a good plan and support from those in your household, a budget can become an easy and natural way to manage your money. It also helps you take control of your financial future and empowers you with the discipline and knowledge you need to make sound financial decisions.

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