Starting a budget and sticking to it can seem daunting, especially if you've ever tried and given up in the past. The start of a new year is a perfect time to get clear about financial health, and begin setting financial goals that can support your best lives into the near and long term future.
We all know how financial worries can impact the present moment, and wreak havoc on our health and happiness. Resolve to clearing away anxiety regarding your finances, and create a realistic budget to carry you through this brand new year.
Budget planning doesn't have to be hard work, but it does take discipline, commitment and a few good tips to get started. We've come up with 6 tips to help you begin your process, and we encourage you to take a deep breath, and dive into your check book with eyes wide open. You may be surprised at what you're able to achieve with a little planning, positivity and dedicated willpower!
- Create a budget. This may seem obvious, but for many of us, creating a budget is not a familiar experience. Take an inventory of all of your fixed expenses and income, and create a budget that reflects your financial goals for the new year. Whether you want to save for a big vacation, pay off unwanted debt or just become a more conscious participant in your own spending habits, creating a budget IS THE WAY. We love this online tool for added support in getting started.
- Start an emergency fund. Unfortunately, life can sometimes hand us unexpected situations that require more of our money than we're prepared to give away. Setting aside an emergency fund can save you from diving into debt or putting your finances into upheaval when those unplanned for moments arrive.
- Limit dining out. While we can all appreciate the convenience of grabbing lunch or dinner out instead of packing or cooking our own meals at home, the fact is that dining out can be expensive. Set goals around your monthly food budget that allow you to splurge from time to time, while bringing your meals back into your own kitchen where you can keep costs down effectively.
- Eliminate Waste. We know you love those double tall mochas in the morning, but your budget really, truly doesn't. Identify expenses that can easily be reduced (buy ingredients in bulk and prepare at home!), and eliminate, eliminate, eliminate. Cutting a $5 daily coffee habit out of your budget can make a HUGE impact by month and year end.
- Change your mind. Managing money can be an intimidating experience in the beginning, and many of us have emotions and feelings tied up into our spending habits. Commit to changing the way you look at your finances and your spending, and empower yourself to BE THE BEST BUDGETER OF ALL TIME. Taking a positive, proactive approach to facing financial change can relieve the knot in your stomach, and make it easier to get clear around what you really want to create financially in the new year.
- Ask for help. If you're feeling really stuck, and don't know where to start, we suggest visiting your local bank branch and setting up an appointment with one of their complimentary financial advisors. This service is free when you hold an account with your bank, and these advisors can help you to carve out a simple, strategic plan to reach your goals.