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Creating a budget for your money is the foundation on which all other financial goals can be accomplished. To better understand what is a budget, check out https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/budget.asp. Let’s take a look at how you can get started on budgeting to achieve your goals: 

Know your NET income, Record and Monitor your expenses, Outline the goals you want to achieve, Strategize, Monitor and Review your progress periodically and above all, Be Honest. 

Step 1: Know your NET Income

Take note of your income after all taxes and deductions such as National Insurance (NIS) contributions. Many people make the error of overestimating what they can do with their money by simply using their gross income as their financial spending power. Your final take home pay is where our focus is.

Step 2: Record and Monitor Your Expenses

Categorize your expenses between fixed and variable monthly expenses. Doing this will help you easily identify where and how your monthly income gets spent. Your rent, mortgage or loan repayments are examples of bills which should be fixed each month. Your variable expenses however such as, food, entertainment and gas will fluctuate based on what activities you plan to be involved in for the month. This is where the opportunities to cut back and adjust your expenses are.

Step 3:  Outline the goals you want to achieve

Outline what you want to accomplish in the short and long-term. Identifying and prioritizing your goals in advance make it that much easier to stick to any plans and strategies you create.  Short-term goals may include building your savings or planning for a vacation expense. Your long-term goals might include planning for retirement or purchasing a home and paying off a mortgage. Whatever your personal goals, here you can sift through your recorded income and expenses from step 2 and begin crafting a plan. This takes us to step four.

Step 4: Strategize

Now it’s time to create your personal budgeting strategy. After reviewing your variable and fixed expenses, you should have a map of how you’re expected to spend your money in the coming months. You are essentially using your past spending habits to predict your future spending habits. Now you will be able to decide where and how you want to make initial adjustments to your spending patterns and habits to boost areas of your budget such as savings to achieve your desired goals across time. Ensuring you differentiate your needs from your wants will play a significant role in helping to choose what items you can cut back on to boost your savings and by default help you reach your goals faster.

Step 5: Monitor and Review your progress periodically  

If you’re budgeting for 1 year, reviewing your progress every 2 or 3 months will help you monitor and maintain your course. If you have setbacks, you will be able to make adjustments to your budgeting strategy to get yourself back on course. Remember, you aren’t doing this aimlessly, there are goals you are aiming to achieve across time. For someone who has not had reason to budget before, making progress with your budgeting plan is more important than perfection. Part of this process is ensuring you know where you are relative to your outlined goals across time and making adjustments whenever you are out of alignment to get you back to where you need to be.

Step 6: Be Honest

Being honest about where you are and how disciplined you are will be the cornerstone of what you accomplish and how quickly you accomplish it. Being honest about what expenses are your wants and not needs will help you strategize better. Being honest about if you are keeping to your plan or not will help you readjust quickly when setbacks occur. Being honest will see you through to the end of your budgeting plans and get you to achieve any goal you set.

 

Budgeting is an excellent tool for managing your finances and mainly your monthly cash flow. Do not underestimate the power of developing your budgeting skills. If you need help getting started on achieving your goals, platforms such as https://www.thefinroute.com/  give you free access to financial advisors and more to get you on track to accomplishing your financial dreams. For more budgeting tips you can visit https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/how-to-budget

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