Have you thought about your budget?
Remember that spreadsheet you’ve been putting off? How about that app where you haven’t logged in for months?
It sounds like your budget could use some attention if you fall into this category.
Don’t just declutter your closets and deep clean your house this spring. It’s also a great time to get your finances in order.
5 Simple Steps to Spring Clean Your Budget
You can rejuvenate your money management system by following these five steps. Wearing rubber gloves or disinfecting spray is not necessary.
1. Remove Unnecessary Expenses
Get rid of wasteful expenses such as that gym membership you never use or that free trial you forgot to end.
Look through your bank statements from the past several months to identify recurring costs you can eliminate. Also, be on the lookout for other issues in your finances, like repeated impulse purchases at your favorite stores.
2. Adjust The Spending Limits Within Each Budgeting Category
Budgets are not static systems. It may not fit your life today if you set spending limits when you first started it.
Ensure that your spending projections match your actual spending in all your budget categories. A budget adjustment may be necessary if you consistently go over your grocery limit each month. It is likely that you underestimated your spending.
3. Ensure Your Spending Reflects Your Values
Cash can slip through your fingers without a second thought, even if you work hard for it.
You should spend your disposable income – what’s left after bills and necessities – according to what’s important to you. In values-based budgeting, those considerations are taken into account.
Observe how you spend your money and see if it aligns with your values. Your money management plan will be more likely to succeed if you leave room for fun money.
4. Changing Your Budgeting Method
Budgeting is not a one-size-fits-all process. Switch up your approach if you have been struggling.
If you want to keep close tabs on every dollar you spend, zero-based budgeting is the way to go, whereas the 50/30/20 approach organizes your spending into three broad categories.
The paycheck budget method lets you eliminate monthly budgeting, while the half payment method lets you spread your expenses out more evenly.
By using the calendar method, you can stay up to date on upcoming payments and expenses. By using a cash envelope system, people are not able to swipe their debit cards beyond their spending limits.
5. Maintain Your Budget by Getting Help
The first step is to clean up your budget. From there, it’s all about maintaining it.
Organizing your finances is easier when you have the right tools. Having a budget binder makes it easy to keep track of all your important documents – such as a spending log, a debt tracker and a calendar of upcoming bill due dates. Pre-made binders are available or you can make your own.
You will be more likely to stick to your financial goals if you have an accountability partner. The next time you want to ignore your budget, find a money buddy there that won’t let you get away with it.