Being a good steward over your finances is ESSENTIAL to creating a balanced and organized lifestyle. It is a well-known fact that money issues can add sooo much stress to your life. And here is a lesson that I’ve personally learned: you can have money issues whether you have a low or high income. Making more money does not necessarily make all of your financial conflict go away – having more money can actually enhance your problems if you manage money poorly. Learning how to manage what you have will ensure that you will be able to manage any growth and success that you encounter in the future. If you find yourself needing some (realistic) pointers from someone who has (and still deals with) the typical American’s financial burdens, this blog post is for you!
- Do away with monthly budgets. I don’t know anyone who gets paid once a month, do you? Make two budgets per month since you most likely get paid twice a month.
- If you have a joint household budget with a partner, allocate bills based on the percentage of household income that each person brings in. For example, if one person brings in 70% of the household income, they should pay 70% of the bills. Some may disagree with this tip, but personally, this works for my husband and I. If done correctly, both parties should be left with the same amount of net income.
- If you have more than one bank account, designate certain bills to come out of each account. Doing this creates consistency. For instance, My husband and I have about 5 accounts that we use. Our bills come out of three of those accounts, and the other two are savings. The bills that come out of those three accounts do not shift around. They come of their respective account based on who is paying it and the amount that is deposited into each account every time we get paid. No surprises. Ever.
- Get in front of your biggest expenses. If your rent is due at the beginning of March, set aside money in February so that you’re not scrambling.
- Don’t load your biggest expenses into one paycheck. For example, my husband and I set aside 50% of our mortgage contributions from our paychecks at the beginning of the month and the other 50% from our paychecks at the end of the month. Doing this allows for an even spread of expenses. No one likes having an entire paycheck eaten by one big expense.
- Project/estimate non-bill expenses. I set aside a certain amount of money for gas, groceries, dining out, tithes and offerings, etc. Shoot, I even give myself a CVS budget! Doing this does two things: it allows you to have a more accurate budget and it holds you accountable by essentially forcing you stay within the parameters you’ve set. Decrease that dining out expense, and you will probably free up tons of money!
- Build your budget based on your worst case scenario. When I say worst case scenario, I mean the least amount of income you could receive and the largest amount of expenses you could have. That way, you are covered no matter what, and any additional money will be a plus. This tip mostly applies to my paid-hourly and/or part-time folk.
- Learn how to live off of your overall net, post-bill amount. I had to learn this lesson the hard way. Have you ever purchased something based on the amount in your bank account forgetting that a few auto-pay bills had not drafted out yet? Listen, I had ENOUGH of paying overdraft fees simply because I was lousy with money. I created a budget in excel that calculates the leftover amount in each bank account after every expense was deducted, and I began referring to my budget rather than my bank account for an actual view of my financial situation. My husband and I have not had an issue with overdrafts or overspending ever since!
- Make your budget mobile-friendly. It doesn’t matter if your budget is written or electronic. It should be with you at all times.
If you would like a pre-made and AFFORDABLE budget template that is designed to help you incorporate all of the above tips, you can purchase my budget template here:
I hope these tips give you the push and encouragement you need to begin taking charge of your finances! Feel free to share any of your own tips below!
Live sound mindfully,