Summer is an amazing time of year but it’s also a time when we are inclined to spend a lot more money on traveling, family BBQs, and home improvement projects. These types of expenditures can derail your monthly budgeting. If you think you have fallen off the track, how will you react to the fall? It may be time to regroup and re-evaluate and make the necessary changes to get back on track.
It’s time to get back to basics by preparing a new budget by focusing on three important areas – saving, bills and spending. But, before you can do that you must first decide the following:
- How much income do you have every month (employment, benefits, child support, alimony, etc). Then deduct all your expenses. This will give you your income number to work within your monthly budget.
It’s important to remember that saving is a requirement, not an option. Always pay yourself first. Many times we get caught up in paying bills, having fun and then we think about saving much later. And, by that time, there’s probably no money left to save. You must become more proactive and creative about saving.
The place to start is saving money before you pay anything. Every time you receive money from anyone or anywhere, save some of it. Even it it’s only $10. Save it! Small amounts can add up to large amounts over a period of time. So begin small but stay consistent. Start today by creating an action plan for your savings goals.
Bills are another important aspect of attaining your financial goals because we must pay them in order to live our daily lives. By paying your basic expenses you are supporting your basic needs for housing, transportation, food and clothing. Once you have paid your living expenses, start paying all your other bills in order of their importance – car loan, insurance, internet, hair, nails, streaming TV, etc.
At the end of the month you find out you have more expenses than income; it’s time to figure out if you have an income problem or a money management problem. Once you get a picture of your problem, take action.
Make sure you make time for fun activities and self-care. We all work too hard not to enjoy life. So start living it with purpose and excitement. Set aside money within your budget to do something you enjoy every month. Just like we have to work to earn money to live, it’s important to take the time to enjoy life so we can fortify ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually. Remember to set aside funds for little unplanned enjoyments we forget to count, like eating out, Starbucks, outside events, etc. Once your spending allotment has been used, be sure to stay disciplined and hold off your spending until next month.
LET’S TAKE ACTION
Now it’s time to get to work. Get started on your end of summer budget. It’s OK to adjust your budget as your life changes. If you start the month with a plan, it’s so much easier to make changes when those unexpected events occur.