Budget, Uncategorized

The “B” Word – Budget

Hoping to have some amazing tip, but that eureka moment didn’t happen. In fact just the opposite, as I searched the more it became clear we should start with the foundation of debt relief. The foundation of financial freedom is the – Budget! One of the most dreaded words we have, yet something that if we do will give a very satisfying life.

The Tool That Builds the future

Almost exclusively every savings tip will only work if we have a budget, why? It seems to be our nature if we find a good deal and think we’ve saved, we’ll turn around and get something else. Usually something we didn’t really need. Which is why no matter how many savings tips you apply if you don’t have a place for that money to go, it’ll float away.

A budget lets you set limits on every area, and being in college or better still in high school and thinking about going your scratching to get anywhere. Don’t feel alone look at this table from the Federal Reserve.

 

Age

Receive assistance from others with their education debt payments

18-24

51.8

25-29

14.6

30-39

16.3

40+

4.5

Overall

19.2

 

Every age group has borrowed from friends or family to make it through while carrying school debt.

I know of some that use a budget to count each and every penny, I believe that is why a budget is so dreaded, and that would stress me! Yet, like every tool if used properly, a budget can make life easier, true you need to keep track but not to the point of insanity. Remember the point is to make our lives better now and for the future.

Learning the Tool and it Will Learn You

First, start with some simple lists your income and your regular bills and average and round up. That’s right, all change even .01 go to the next dollar, the point is to have a buffer, to have a relatively secure financial future. Now your third and perhaps the most important list, your goals! This is the list that will keep you focused and give you the most enjoyment. These are your goals, so if want to put your most grandiose dream go ahead, sip those margaritas on your own secluded beach. However, put some easier to attain ones as well, all student loans paid in full, $1000 in the savings account, paying every bill for the month early or paying every bill with a little extra left over. As each of these little goals are met, the feeling of accomplishment will encourage you toward the next goal.

Tools to build the Budget

Pad and paper anyone? Well, that would work but today we have far better tools. There are Excel spreadsheet templates others for the Opensource software. In fact, type “college student budget spreadsheet” into Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any other search engine you like, and you’ll get tons of templates.

Perhaps that is still a little old school for you, there are several excellent apps out now that make budgeting very easy. Some that are designed with students in mind.

The Apps
Free with Ads

Mint, will top most searches, owned by Intuit you know Quicken (since 2009 purchase) accounting is what built this company.  But to make the little app outstanding in 2014 Intuit purchased another app called Check, now we have the entire spectrum of budgeting. The power of past accounting, and monitoring combined with present bill reminders, autopay if you want, and account watchdog, to let you know you are getting low. Now add household budgeting and future planning and it’s no wonder this app has such a following!

But there are a couple more that deserve looking at perhaps you’ll find one with your must-have feature. Take Toshl Finance merge budgeting, investing, and Digimon and this app will pop out. Friendly little creatures cheering you on, easy to learn colors (green is good/red is stop). If you want to have a bit of fun as you chip away at your debt, then this one is your go-to app. Toshl goal is to make budgeting fun and interesting, their business side is investments so that is a focal point. But for someone just starting out, and doesn’t have lots of debt, this would be a great habit builder for you. Plus, if you spend a little extra time, you can start your investment education.

Service fee needed

If you’re a no-nonsense person or you just enjoy being whipped into shape, the school gym isn’t doing it for you. Try YNAB, desperate times require action and this app will get it done. Like any good trainer, you’ll have to pay a fee, but $6.99 a month will put your financial health in superior condition. Perhaps you’ll ever become Superman, but YNAB can make your future bulletproof. This company takes pride not only in helping build your budget but in teaching you the needed skills.

Really there are so many apps doing this in different ways there will be one to fit your personality, but these 3 have high marks.

 

Now Start!

Lists done, goals and limits set, tools picked all that is left is to start on the path. The path of completing your education and remaining or gaining a financially set future. Also, now we have a foundation to build upon, with each savings tip being the next brick. Now, when you save you really will save, everything left over at end of the month will go toward your future goals.

Let me help you a little, one of your first goals should be to build a $1,000 emergency fund. Really, you should have what it would take to pay 3 months of bills. Reality is that’s not possible right now, but this emergency fund will save you down the road. It is that important, problems will come, you need a way to handle them without derailing your plans. Once this is in place it will help your stress level knowing that you have a reserve calms you and give the confidence to face problems.  Also, this will make you feel good when you see something in your account every month. Peace of mind is priceless!

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