Personal budgeting tips

Personal budgeting tips

Personal budgeting – it’s such an easy thing to put off. The “I’ll get to it one day” kind of task that is easily overlooked. While it’s true that there’s always next week, next month or next year, when it comes to your financial goals, putting it off has real consequences that equal less money and more work. So here are 7 personal budgeting steps you should take to start your budget off right.

1. Review your financial plan

If you made a financial plan last year, get it out and see how you did. If you met your goals, pat yourself on the back and start thinking about all the terrific things you will accomplish this year.

If you fell short, that’s okay. Take a deep breath and be honest about why. You may find that many things will have been out of your control. However, if the problem was unnecessary spending or poor planning, take those lessons into account with a renewed sense of determination.

Sidenote, if you don’t have a financial plan, our Financial Advisors can help you create one. 

2. Tie up your expenses

If you have personal or business claims to make, locate your receipts and get those submitted as soon as possible. Tying up these loose ends while they’re still fresh in your mind is beneficial because it reduces the likelihood of missing something. In some cases, it also means you’ll get a reimbursement to help get you started this year.

3. Get a jump start on your taxes

Your tax submission dates will vary depending on where you live, but it’s always a good idea to get sorted for the year as early as possible. Review, gather the documents you have so far, and follow up with anyone that still needs to send you a form or receipt.

4. Take stock of your credit cards

Take a look at your credit cards. Hopefully, your stellar personal budgeting skills keep your spending on track, but if not, take the time now to figure that out.

Calculate what you owe and devise a payment plan so nothing gets out of hand. Additionally, review your interest rates on each card and plan to pay the card with the highest rate as soon as possible.

5. Make new savings goals

If your savings account isn’t as full as you hoped, decide precisely how you plan to save in the next 12 months. Toss out whatever tactics didn’t work for you previously, or adjust them so they do.

Be specific and start small. Most bank accounts will let you make automatic contributions when you make purchases. It’s better than trying to do too much and ending up with a budget that simply doesn’t work.

6. Consider your career goals

If you have a significant job change planned this year, determine how it will impact your budget. Additionally, if you need to bring in more to sustain your lifestyle, brainstorm how you will do that. It may mean taking on a side hustle, switching careers, or negotiating your salary at your current job.

7. Plan for any big changes

Generally speaking, we often know if there is a significant life event, plan to move, or expensive purchase in the short term. So, take stock of what’s going on in your life and what it means for your personal budget. Then, take it a step further and get specific with how you plan to pay for it.

Final thoughts on personal budgeting

It’s easy to head into each new year thinking it will be different, you’ll earn more money, and things will be easier. However, it’s entirely different to consider precisely how that will happen. A great tool to get you started is the MoneySmart budget planner.

Take the opportunity to dissect your financial situation, make new goals, and develop a specific plan – and reap the benefits over the coming year. If you would like help identifying how you can better manage your money, please contact our Financial Advisors. We can help you clarify your goals and advise you in how best to achieve them.

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