Everyone makes occasional financial slipups – no matter what their financial situation is. How many times have you been there? Staring at your bank account wondering where you went wrong with your spending.
This rings true for many low-income families and can have serious consequences as going over budget can often jeopardize a car payment, loan payment and even their rent. They may often have to choose what bills take priority because they have little to no room for spending mistakes, leaving them feeling deflated and lost.
Budgeting can often seem difficult, especially to those who have to account for every penny they earn, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. Managing to waggle some breathing space within your spending can take some inventiveness, but it’s not impossible.
We often find that out of clutter, you can find simplicity, so making a budget doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve assembled our top five budgeting tips for those feeling the budgetary crush to help start you off and show you that less is more when it comes to your spending.
Going over budget can often jeopardize a car payment, loan payment and even rent
Top 5 Budgeting Tips
- Track and cut back
It’s important to know where your money is going in order to make an accurate budget – track every expenditure from big to small and from planned to unplanned. Then take an overview of all your expenses and see if small reductions can be made. Budgeting doesn’t always have to mean cutting things out and this is often an easier way to go for those who are reluctant to give things up entirely. Reducing costs such as your cable or your cellphone plan can often free up cash that could be better used elsewhere.
- Get your priorities straight
It’s very easy to feel like a lot of everyday things are priorities, however, it’s important to recognize that bills should always come first. All bills have consequences if you don’t pay them, but some are more severe than others. Prioritize bills such as your housing payments, car payments and utilities. These allow you to keep your house running and, in some cases affect your ability to work so it’s important to recognize their importance. This in turn allows you to better budget for your other bills where cuts can be made.
- Dine and dusted
Food is a necessity, it’s part of what keeps us going through each day, but it’s very easy to spend more on food that you intended. Reduce your food costs by going shopping with a strict list to stop impulse spending and always be on the lookout for coupons or cost-effective stores that price-match. Prepping your meals for the week also means not spending extra on your lunch break or turning to those takeout menus you keep in a drawer (it’s also a great way to eat healthier).
- Make a nest egg
Saving is one of the most common ways to make sure you’re never left short, especially in emergencies. Creating an emergency fund is vitally important when budgeting on a low income as unexpected costs such as a vet bill, car repair or medical bill often pose the risk of having to leave other bills unpaid. Setting a share of your income aside into a savings account each month along with any loose change can help you build up a considerable amount of cash and make your budgeting less taxing. It is also worth to check with your bank if they have a round-up scheme on your bank account that allows you to put your extra change into your savings.
- Be sensible
Make sure you create your budget to suit your needs. Don’t fall into the cycle of budgeting less than is required for necessities and having to borrow from elsewhere. You may need to make some hard decisions when creating your budget, especially if your income isn’t enough to cover all your expenses. If you are in debt to a bill it is also important to remember that this needs to be paid – work your arrears into your budget by paying a little extra each month.
Budgeting is good for everyone, no matter what their income is, but when every dollar needs to be accounted for it can definitely allow those with low income to take better control of their finances.
If you are struggling with your budget or you’re unsure what to do next, contact one of our friendly advisors today.