Revamp Your Personal Budget the Right Way
Have you finally decided to stop procrastinating and get your personal budget in top shape? Getting past the delays and excuses is a big step and shows that you're ready to get serious about making sense out of an outdated, possibly messy monthly list of expenses and income sources. How to begin? For the vast majority of working people, budgeting is not rocket science or heavy lifting. In fact, there are several digital tools that make the process relatively painless and quick. It takes about one minute to find several excellent freeware apps you can download to any device. They'll help you construct a standard budget, complete with all the requisite categories, analytical tools, and more.
Revamping a budget means several things. First, it's wise to begin by installing an expense tracking app on your most-used device, often a smartphone. Next, consider eliminating high-interest credit card debt with a personal loan. After that, you still have several choices for fine-tuning the process, like setting up a payroll savings account, speaking with a financial professional, and eliminating entire categories from the spending side of your ledger. Here's how to get off square one and build a realistic budget that works.
Use an Expense Tracking App
Download one of the dozens of free expense tracker apps to your phone and use it every time you buy anything with a debit card, credit card, or cash. After about two weeks, the app will offer you several suggestions about how to rework your spending habits to eliminate repeat offender buys like convenience store pastries, fast food, and drive-thru coffee beverages.
Get a Personal Loan to Pay Down Plastic Debt
For many working adults, plastic credit cards are like financial poison because they come with such high interest rates, hefty fees, and other costs that make them an unrealistic way to carry a monthly balance. If you're disciplined enough to pay off all card balances at the end of each month, good for you. However, if you find yourself with a significant amount of card debt, consider working with a private lender to get a more favorable interest rate, reasonable terms, and a borrowing limit that can pay off outstanding debt at once. There's no logical reason to continue to pay high interest when you have the option of applying for a personal loan through a reputable private lender.
Consult a Professional
Financial and consumer counselors routinely offer half hour consultation sessions for working people who want help with budgeting. Consider paying for one or two such sessions to put the finishing touches on your personal financial plan. Licensed professionals can spot inconsistencies and built-in errors in budgets and can help you make realistic adjustments. Down the line these are also the people that can help you get more aggressive in terms of investing for the future. Even an introduction to the basic principles of investing can help elevate your overall financial health and strategy.
Get Serious about Saving
Set up a payroll savings plan through your employer. If one is not available, ask your bank to automatically deposit a fixed percentage, like two percent, of each direct deposited paycheck into a separate savings account. After you get comfortable with a low percentage, consider upping the amount to five percent or even higher for faster savings growth and to create a helpful emergency fund.