Many Americans are in financial ruin. Today, while wages are rising, only 40% of Americans are able to cover a $400 emergency. The amount of household debt is rising, and many Americans are finding it difficult to live. Indeed, the number of homeless Americans is growing. Part of the reason for this problem is many people are not budgeting well. A recent story that went viral showed a couple that was struggling to make ends meet even when making $500k a year. In this article, we will look at the best pro budgeting tips you should use today to avoid being in a financial ruin.
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- 1 Budgeting Tips #1: Budget Together
- 2 Budget Tips #2: Zero-Based Budgeting
- 3 Budget Tips #3: Start with The Most Important Details First
- 4 Budget Tips #4: Lock Your Credit Card in a Safe
- 5 Budget Tips #5: Have a Mid-Month Meeting
- 6 Budget Tips 6: Track Your Progress
- 7 Budget Tips 6: Try to Go Underbudget
- 8 Summary
Budgeting Tips #1: Budget Together
If you are a married couple, we recommend that you do the budget together. As such, every month you should have a family meeting where you discuss the performance of the previous month, and come up with a budget of the coming month. The goal of sitting together for this household meeting is that you will be at a good position to review how the previous month went and how you can adjust in the new month. If you are unmarried, we recommend that you find another single person who will act as your accountability partner.
Budget Tips #2: Zero-Based Budgeting
This is an approach that is commonly used by companies but one that you could use as a family. In zero based budgeting (ZBB), you start your budget from scratch with a zero base. The goal of using this approach is to ensure that you cover all the expenses in your family as the month starts. Remember to include things like savings and miscellaneous in your budget. As a family, you should always create your budget in such a way that you can save money every month. It does not need to be much. The miscellaneous should be there to cover the issues that emerge.
Budget Tips #3: Start with The Most Important Details First
The items in your family budget should be ranked according to their importance. As a family, there are things that it is impossible to do without. Some of these are mortgage or rent, food, and fuel. There are other things that you can easily do without such as cable, clothes, and charitable giving. By clothes, I mean that you don’t need to buy clothes every month. Prioritizing your budget will help you know where to trim and where to add.
Budget Tips #4: Lock Your Credit Card in a Safe
A credit card has ruined many families. This is because of the habit of buying items that you don’t need especially when you go over your budget. Indeed, the total credit card debt in the country stands at more than $1 trillion, which is a very big number. In contrast, the federal government has more than $21 trillion in debt. Therefore, a good way to avoid taking excessive credit card debt is to lock it in a safe and giving the key to your partner.
Budget Tips #5: Have a Mid-Month Meeting
Companies have several meetings every month, where they meet to strategize and evaluate the progress of their plans. Having these meetings enable them to track their progress and make the relevant changes. Therefore, we recommend that you have a mid-month meeting where you will review of the progress so far. This should be a short meeting where you see whether you are following the budget and then making the relevant changes.
Budget Tips 6: Track Your Progress
In the past, we use to recommend that you come up with a piece of paper that will help you track your progress. While you can do this still, we recommend that you use the multiple online tools that track your spending. These apps will give you notifications when you are exceeding your budget and also tell you where you are going wrong. With these apps, you will be at a good place to track your historical spending. Some of the best apps you can use are: Mint, Personal Capital, and PocketSmith.
Budget Tips 6: Try to Go Underbudget
A budget is simply a tool that provides a baseline of what you intend to spend. While it is not always recommended that you go overbudget, you should always try to make savings whenever you can. For example, if you have budgeted $100 for monthly fuel and the total you have spent comes to $80, you should be happy about that.
Having a budget or not following one are two of the most common mistakes that many Americans do. A recent study found that 1 in out of 3 Americans did not keep a budget. If you are one of them, you should start creating one today. Doing this will help you make sound financial decisions.
Watch This Budgeting Video
Crispus is a finance professional with more than a decade experience in the industry. Over the years, Crispus has written in-depth articles on leading platforms like CCN, Marketwatch, and Seeking Alpha. He also runs a Forex education and managed account company called WestEndFx.