It’s never too late to get your budget in order. Whether your budget is off the rails or right on track, you can always use a few pointers. If you’re pinching pennies and looking for some budget tips, here are a few you may never have thought of.
Use a Monthly Planner to Keep Your Budget on Track
Spend a few bucks on a small planner or pocket calendar that features a month at a glance. Use the month calendar to keep your budget on track. Use black or blue ink to mark pay dates and amounts and use red ink to mark bill amounts on the dates those bills need to be paid. This allows you to sit down and look at your entire budget for the whole month.
Overestimate and Underestimate
When figuring your budget and your bills, overestimate the amount of bills and underestimate the amount of income. For example, if your paycheck is $305, plan on $300. When the paycheck comes in, put the extra into savings. For bills, if the bill is $81, plan for $90. Put the extra $9 into savings and soon enough, you’ll have a little extra nest egg to work with. This works especially well if you have direct deposit and a connected savings and checking account that you can easily transfer funds electronically.
Use Cash and Spend Less
It’s way to easy to swipe a debit card and think nothing of it since you’re not actually seeing that money change hands. You tend to think about it a little more when you hand someone cash. Get in the habit of using cash whenever possible. Knowing you have only a certain amount of cash to spend makes you pay closer attention to the budget you need to stick with and you will tend to spend less so you have enough cash to cover expenses.
Save Extra Change and Deposit it Into Savings
Once you get into the habit of using cash, establish the next habit of saving your change. At the end of every day, throw your change into a jar or piggy bank. At the end of each month, take your change to the bank and deposit it into your savings account.
Set Up Email Reminders for Upcoming Debits
If you have direct debits set up, it can be easy to forget about them. Set up email reminders to inform you that a debit will be coming out of your account. Be sure to set up the reminders for at least a day or two before they will actually occur so you have plenty of time to make sure the funds are available.
Keeping your budget in line and on track takes effort. Using every trick to make it all work will help you make the most of your money and keep your budget working for you.
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