By TJ Minnehan, District Manager Fox Valley, Marine Credit Union
A budget is essential to financial success. Use these tips and start today!
- Make it easy. It’s important to have a budget to make your financial life easy and manageable. Use a free, online budget management tool to input your net take home pay, bills and monthly payments. Simple as that, you have a budget. Now you just have to follow it. These tools are simple and easy for anyone to use. Try Mint, BudgetTracker or Level Money.
- Pay yourself first. Set up an automatic deposit from each paycheck into your savings account, separate from your 401K contribution. Over time, you won’t even notice it’s missing and it is in a safe place when you need it. The same goes for spending money. Put your spending money in a separate account than the one you pay bills from. Then, when your spending money is gone, it’s gone.
- Let your bills pay themselves. Automatic payments are one of the most convenient features available. Whether your creditor takes the payment from your account on a particular day, or you set them up through an automatic bill pay service, it’s automatic. You don’t have to think about it and they will always be paid on time.
- Analyze your budget and spending habits. The right budgeting tool will keep track of your spending. Review your budget quarterly to find opportunities to make adjustments and to ensure you are sticking to it.
Ultimately, a budget is only beneficial if you are disciplined. By taking advantage of the technology available to you through direct deposit, automatic payments and budgeting tools, a budget can make your life easier. Putting your budget on autopilot just makes things easier.