Have you ever wondered whether a spending plan is right for you? By answering a few simple questions, you may have a better sense of the control you could gain in your financial life.
- Would you like to know whether you will have enough money to pay your bills come their due date?
- Are you looking for a better sense of management of your money?
- Do you hope to build assets that will improve your quality of life?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, keep reading!
Financial goals are specific to how you want your money to work, within a desired time period. To begin, you must clearly identify your financial goals, continually educate yourself on additional ways to achieve your goals, and routinely evaluate your progress.
Once you have made the commitment, it is time to begin!
- Create a 30-day spending diary and keep track of where you spend your money each day.
- Determine your monthly income and expenses.
- Identify ways to decrease spending.
- Find ways to increase income.
It is important to note that income may come to you from a variety of sources including wages, public assistance, alimony, interest and dividends, and social security.
It is also important to differentiate the two categories of expenses: fixed and variable. Fixed expenses do not change from month to month. This would include your rent or mortgage payment. However, you are in the driver’s seat with variable expenses! For instance, you may choose to lower your thermostat during the winter to save on heating costs, or to carpool or walk to your destinations to decrease fuel expenses.
There are a multitude of ways to save money by decreasing your spending. You may eliminate or control your credit card use to avoid interest expense, use coupons to save money on items you already purchase, take your lunch to work instead of eating out, or pay your bills on time to avoid late fees.
One of the most obvious ways to increase your income is to get a second job. However, there are also tax credits that you may consider:
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Child tax credit
- Credit for child and dependent care expenses
- Education credits
- Tax credits for retirement savings contributions
Whatever your goal, take the first step today in creating your spending plan. You won’t regret it!