Get Your Finances Back on Track
GET YOUR FINANCES BACK ON TRACK
Did you know that a $500 surprise expense would put most Americans into debt? If you don’t want to be part of that statistic, a great way to start is by creating a monthly spending plan or budget.
If you are brand new to budgeting, a great way to start is by determining what your long and short term financial goals are. Starting with the end goal in mind will help you stick to a budget.
Next, try tracking your spending for one month. You can keep a written log, use your bank statements or an app on your phone. You may be surprised at what you find by tracking your expenses.
Once you have tracked your finances, you need to create a budget by categorizing your spending and pre-determining amounts to spend on your expenses.
A great rule of thumb is the 50/20/30 rule; budget 50% for essentials, 20% for your future and 30% for lifestyle. You can use a simple pen and paper to list income and expenses or use a more detailed method such as an excel spreadsheet or app like Mint, Rogue's Money Management or NerdWallet.
If you already have a budget but find you are not using it, get back on track by stopping your excess spending. Re-evaluate your budget and see if it is realistic or if you need to crunch the numbers again. If you think you have a good budget but are just not following it, you might want to try a different method.
Everyone is different. Some people like to use cash so they can tangibly see how much they spend. You can put cash in different envelopes for different expenses. When the cash is gone, you’re done spending on that category. The app Mvelopes is an electronic version of this envelope method. You can also try having different accounts for different expenses.
Last but definitely not least, if you want to make sure you’re on track for financial well-being, you have to start paying yourself first. A good goal is to put at least 10% of your paycheck in savings to help when unexpected expenses come up. A simple way to start saving is by enrolling in Rogue’s Save the Change program, where your debit card purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar and the extra change is deposited into your high-yield Ownership Account. Plus, Rogue will even match your rounded-up savings for the first 30 days of enrollment.
Another great option is to set up automatic transfers to a savings account, so you don’t even notice the money is gone.
Everyone will have a slightly different method of budgeting that works for them. No matter what method you choose, make sure you get started now and get your finances on track