The ABCs (And Ds) of Budgeting: Getting Finances Back on Track in Difficult Times
While you can’t control the world, you can take control of your financial situation by making small, but empowering, decisions. From reconsidering your budget to speaking with Statera Financial Planners, there are concrete steps we can all take toward financial well-being. It’s time to revisit the ABCs of budgeting. Here are a few tips for getting back to basics:
A IS FOR AWARENESS – WHERE IS YOUR MONEY GOING?
Before you can build a budget, you need to know how much money is coming in - and how much you're spending. Writing everything down is key if you want to truly understand your financial situation – ideally for two to three months in a row. It may feel tedious, but it's an essential first step.
An honest accounting of your expenses, spending, and income will give you a better understanding of where you stand, allowing you to assess whether you’re putting your hard-earned dollars to best possible use. Taking this step will give you a clearer snapshot of your finances. If you would like a copy of our cashflow and budget tracker, please reach out to the Statera Team!
B IS FOR BALANCE – WHAT CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE?
Once you’re aware of where your money is going, you may need to make adjustments to balance your spending with your savings and income.
Are there expenses that can be easily reduced? If you treat yourself to a $5 coffee on weekdays, you may decide that $100 on coffee every month is too much. Maybe you have a $20 subscription to Netflix but really, you only use Crave. Maybe you’ll realize that your banking or credit card fees have increased.
To find the right balance, compare your spending to your saving. How much are you putting away each month versus how much your expending? Is there anything in particular you should be saving for, such as for emergencies, an upcoming travel or retirement?
C IS FOR COLLABORATION – WHO IS ON YOUR SUPPORT TEAM?
No one’s financial picture is perfect. Everyone struggles – even more so during challenging economic times. We all need support, guidance, and coaching, so make sure you have someone in your corner! CFP® professionals like us have the knowledge, skills, and experience to help you understand your situation - and start setting realistic goals and achieving them.
We will work with you to find a unique solution that will suit your lifestyle and motivate you to stay on track.
D IS FOR DESIGN – WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP IN YOUR GAME PLAN?
Designing a plan for your money can help build your confidence and alleviate your stress. Your plan should lay out a course of action that provides clear steps towards achieving your goals and measuring your progress. It can give you the power to stay on track, and the flexibility to adjust along the way.
Let’s face it – not everyone likes to talk about money. Fortunately, by getting in front of your finances and focusing on the basics of budgeting, you can improve your financial health. Your future self will thank you for it!
Full article by Zena Amundsen, CFP® available here