1/28/2019

7 Budgeting Resolutions You Won't Give Up On

by Travis L.

Budgeting with your Partner 

January is the time to look at where you want to be in 12 months and make a plan to make it happen. But when was the last time you stuck with a budgeting resolution for an entire year? It’s easy to get off track, especially if you set a lofty budgeting goal that doesn’t accommodate unexpected expenses.

This year, take a step back and set smaller goals that can become long-term habits. This will help create a financial strategy that lasts. Here are some goals to get you started.

Check In With Your Budget Once a Week

Once you create your budget, pick one day per week to review your spending habits. Keeping a close eye on your budget will help you identify any frivolous spending and cut back on weekly purchases – or readjust your budget to accommodate flex spending in crucial areas such as groceries and utilities.

This doesn’t mean you need to avoid all fun purchases. Just give them an allotted portion of your monthly spending. If you cut out all discretionary spending, you won’t stick to the plan. Another option is to set up a reward fund that you can dip into if needed.

Do the 52-week Saving Challenge

If you can’t commit to putting large amounts in savings every month, make a plan to save money incrementally. The 52-week saving challenge lets you start by saving just $1 in your first month. Each month, you add a dollar until you put $52 in savings on the final week. At the end of the year, you’ll have $1,378 in savings!

Set Up (and Maintain) an Automatic Savings Plan

Automatic deposits into a savings account can be a lifesaver if you struggle to put money away each month. It’s easy to set up an automatic process that transfers a designated amount of money from each paycheck into a savings account.

It’s commonly advised to put at least 20 percent of your income into savings. If you can’t make that commitment right now, just pick an amount that fits your current financial standing. Then, you just have to set it, forget it, and let the savings happen automatically.

Use Online Money-Saving Tools

If it’s hard for you to remember to save money, let an app do it for you. Set up your investment goals in one of these apps and watch your finances grow.

  • Ibotta: This app allows you to find deals on products you’re shopping for. All you have to do is buy the product at a participating store, take a photo of your receipt in the app, and wait for your deal to be redeemed with a cash back deposit in the app.
  • Acorns: For a low subscription rate of $1 to 3 per month, Acorns allows you to set up recurring investments of your spare change through automatic contributions and by rounding up purchases. Over 250 brands have partnered with Acorns to make investments for you when you shop for certain items online.
  • Qapital: Qapital invests your spare change, or a set monthly amount, into an investment portfolio. You can also schedule deposits from each paycheck through the Payday Divvy feature.
  • Chime: Chime lets you effortlessly manage your money from your smartphone. You can elect to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar or set certain savings deposits from each paycheck. Chime doesn’t charge monthly fees, foreign transaction fees, or overdraft fees.

Cut Back on Small Expenses

How much do you spend each month on small, but unnecessary, expenses? Think of how much money you could save if you stopped paying for cable. Cutting cable could also reduce your electricity bill and give you time to focus on a side hustle.

It might surprise you, but cable is only one of many small expenses that quickly add up to ruin your budget.

Use the 30-day Rule

Use the 30-day rule to help determine if you should really spend your money. It’s simple (if you can practice restraint). Whenever you feel the need to spend a large amount of money on one purchase, wait 30 days before actually buying the item. At the end of the 30 days, ask yourself, “Do I still want this?” If the answer to either of these questions is no, don’t buy it.

Track Your Debt Visually

It’s easy to forget about your budgeting resolutions by the end of the year. Help yourself remember your goals by putting a visual reminder in a spot where you’ll see it every day. Make a progress bar, bar graph, or pie chart that you fill in each time you put money toward debt. The goal is to see your debt in a way that’s easy to understand. Pair the visual reminder with a plan to pay off your debt, and you can make a good dent in what you owe.

 

Want more budgeting tips and inspiration? Check out the Cash Store blog.

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