Whether your financial goals are focused on saving for retirement, paying off student loans or having enough money to eat dinner next week, creating a monthly budget is the first step to financial success.
Depending on what your financial goals are, there are a variety of budget processes and systems to choose from. However, all budgets start with the same first step: a commitment to a new, sometimes more difficult, lifestyle.
Once you have made the commitment to stick to a monthly budget, you will be one step closer to meeting your financial goals! Heartland Bank wants to help you create a budget that works for you. Here are some general rules of thumb when tracking your finances with a monthly budget:
Create an Emergency Fund: This is one of the first steps in most budget creation guides. The purpose of an emergency fund is to keep you from relying on credit cards or dipping into your retirement account in case emergencies.
Figure Out Where Your Money is Currently Going: From car payments and utility payments to eating out and ATM fees, figure out how much you are spending monthly. At this point, narrow down exactly how much you need for the basics (i.e. food, shelter, transportation) each month.
Tackle Debt: Once you know exactly how much you need in order to live monthly, start addressing student loans, car payments, credit card payments and all other forms of debt. Using your “left overs” to pay off bills is hard for many folks, because if you spend more on debt, you must spend less elsewhere. However, if you can do the hard part now, the sooner you can get to the fun part (reaching your goals)!
Track and Save: Continue to always track your finances, whether you are new to the budget system or have been doing it for years. Always know where your money is going before you spend it. Once you feel more comfortable tracking your finances with a basic monthly budget, feel free to begin tailoring your budget to meet those unique financial goals that you have.
Starting a monthly budget is one of those things that is “easier said than done”. But once you create a budget and are able to track your finances, you will be on your way to accomplishing your financial goals.
If you are ready to get started with a budget or have questions about our savings account options, stop by or contact the Heartland Bank location nearest you!
Heartland Bank, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender