(Victor Valley) – Are you the type of person that cringes when you hear the word “budget”? Do you usually think it just takes too much time and effort to put a budget together? With the availability of online tools, tracking software, and even easy access to information, now is a great time to do just that – plan a budget and live by it.
The following tips from Investopedia.com offer simple solutions for budgeters:
Take Advantage of Technology-Based Budget Planners
Online, there is a whole world of budget planning software just waiting for you to log in and get started. There are websites devoted to helping you manage your finances with just a few keystrokes of data entry and programs that you can buy, install and run within 10 short minutes. Many of these programs work by simply connecting with your online bank records. After linking up to your bank and gathering your historical spending patterns, they allow you to tweak your monetary allocations in order to meet the financial goals you have established. Another major benefit of many of these programs is that they create graphs that give you a visual of how your money is being spent, which can make it easy for you to recognize problems and change your spending habits.
Before entering your personal information or bank log-in data into a website or software program, do some research to ensure that the site or program is safe and secured.
Use Simple Budgeting Techniques
In the days before the Internet and personal computers, people used simpler methods to create budgets. You may be happy to hear that these simple methods are still completely workable and very valid ways of managing your money. These methods include:
Using paper and pen to create a basic budget. Often the hardest part about keeping track of your finances is getting started. Software programs are not for everyone, but if you use paper and pen you need to be diligent, and organized. It is easy to get started, but calculating and adjusting is where you will lose time. You need to file properly and trust your manual writing and calculating skills.
Utilize jars, envelopes or separate savings accounts to allocate money for your various budget categories. For this, you simply need five to eight clear jars with labels. Place the amount of money in each jar based on how much you want to spend in each category. When you are out of money in the “Restaurant” category then you can’t spend any more in this area.
The key is to find the method that is most effective for you that you will have no trouble sticking with because a budget that works is the goal.
Automate Your Budget’s Execution
A budget is nothing if its financial guidelines are not followed. Luckily, you can automate many of your payments so that the budget is honored and upheld by an invisible hand whose control you need only establish once.
You can set up automatic bill pay either through your bank’s website or the individual websites of your creditors and service providers. You can also set up automatic transfers into savings and retirement accounts. The one thing you will need to oversee is your bank balance. Making sure that you have enough money in your account to meet your preset payment obligations is the one responsibility that you can’t automate … unless your bank allows you to create an email alert when your balance falls below a certain point.
It is quite easy to set up your budget and make it work. Once this step is completed it because something that takes little effort to keep running smoothly. Investopedia has a free Budgeting Basics course that has many helpful tips and tricks that help you spend less than you’re bringing in and planning for both the short- and long-term, or BUDGET.