You’ll Never Guess How Many Americans Know Budgeting Is Important
And you’ll never guess how many are doing it wrong.
Maintain a personal budget that helps you save money and avoid debt
And you’ll never guess how many are doing it wrong.
A reader has gone through bankruptcy, debt settlement, and payday loans. Yet she’s still mired in debt.
A reader has some debt, but no savings. Thankfully, he has several excellent options.
Here’s how to stop throwing money down the garbage disposal.
It wasn’t always easy, but their sacrifices paid off.
Adding another dog or cat to the family costs more than just a bigger bag of food.
Pets don’t cost as much as kids, but they still require some financial planning.
You pay your credit cards every month. What if everything was that way?
It took a lot of hard work to make this solution so simple.
She went from living alone in an empty apartment to finding success and happiness.
Did you spend 2017 awake at midnight, worrying about bills? Create a budget and sleep debt-free.
Tired of being haunted by the specter of purchases past? Get rid of debt in 2018 and ditch living paycheck to paycheck.
A third of married people report being financially unfaithful.
Half of Americans create a holiday budget but most of us have busted our budgets before.
A funeral expert tells you how to plan your own demise on a tight budget.
This map will show you where you can make the most of your disposable income.
The generation is looking for cards that offer more rewards
No one is talking about them, but they should. So I will.
Guess who’s afraid of never being able to retire? And who fears living paycheck to paycheck?
Over three-fourths of the generation feel they will have no savings for their post-work life
He and his wife eat healthier now and save more money.
She put every extra penny toward her student loans and carefully tracked her spending.
More than half of parents shop with a back-to-school budget and expect a rise in expenses this year. But parents are working the extra expenses into their budget.
After the holiday season, back-to-school shopping is the second largest spending event of the year. Nearly half of Americans will shop online, according to the National Retail Federation. In total, they’ll spend an estimated $83.6 billion — a more than 10 percent jump over last year, and a five-year high — to get grade school […]
Kindergarten through college will cost consumers nearly $73 billion this back-to-school season, with college being roughly two-thirds of that.
Think it means being rich? Think again.
It’s like a really sad version of ‘The Price is Right,’ because the only prize is knowing how people budget
How quickly could you come up with $400? Many of us would need to borrow it.
The economic recovery is literally one step forward, one step back.
We tried out one of these services. Results? Meh.
He campaigned on not cutting entitlements, but conservatives think he has to.
Want to speed up your debt-reduction efforts? Here’s how to do so without a crash diet.
Most Americans can’t afford an unexpected expense and low credit scores have a lot to do with it.
More than any other generation, they want to track their spending better in 2017
It may sound like as much fun as having your teeth drilled, but budgeting really isn’t that bad.
Here’s how she obsessively tracks every penny — by hand.
You need to create a budget — although believe it or not, that’s a controversial statement.
What if you don’t have enough cash even for a tragedy, disaster, or other emergency? Most of us aren’t ready for one.
No-stress, no-sacrifice saving? It’s not too good to be true. It’s too true to miss out on.
Knowing how you think about money can help you save more of it.
For those who answer yes, there’s good advice and even outside help.
They’re spending less to save more
But saving does, and most of us prefer it that way.
Many people shop backwards for a vehicle — and that’s costly. Here’s how to get the best deal.
Why it’s cheaper to take a year-long vacation than it is to live in California
If there’s one thing that’s not bigger in Texas, it’s the cost of living. But that doesn’t stop Texans from overspending. They have some of the worst money managers in the country.
Most Americans predict they’ll run out of money before they die
Budgets are about deprivation and discipline. No wonder they’re hard to stick to.
The seventh Debt.com scholarship winner has a superior brain but a suffering mouth.
A reader has only enough to pay the mortgage, car lease, or credit card. But not all three.
The biggest roadblock in budgeting is finding a tool that makes it easy to budget. Pen and paper or spreadsheet budgeting are rarely effective because they don’t integrate easily into your daily life. But a smartphone app is easy to check every day.
So, the best budgeting tip we can offer is to find a platform that fits seamlessly with your lifestyle.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they budget is that they set up a budget, then leave it be. Budgets are not set in stone! They are constantly changing, based on your income, needs and wants. Recognizing this means that you give yourself more flexibility. You set targets that you aim for, instead of defining concrete numbers that you can’t deviate from.
Always remember, a budget is really just a recommended spending guide. It helps you stay on track. But if you color outside your budget lines every once in a while, that’s okay!
Whether you use an app with built-in categories or you make a budget from scratch, always make sure to set spending targets. These help you keep flexible and discretionary expenses under control so you can avoid overspending.
Flexible expenses are necessary expenses that don’t have a set cost (as opposed to fixed expenses, that have set costs). Discretionary expenses are all your wants, whether they have fixed or variable costs.
In both cases, you should set spending limits for each category of expense that you have. For instance, you set a food budget of $100 per week or $400 per month.
Most budgeting tools that are popular today offer alerts. They track spending and alert you whenever you approach a spending target. This helps you keep your spending under control. The alerts are usually sent via email, text message or through on-screen notifications if you use an app.
Using these alerts helps you stay on target without depending on you to check the app every day. Instead, your budgeting tool will tell you when it’s time to check in and adjust your spending.
Your budget should always balance your expenses versus your income. But that doesn’t mean that every dollar should be accounted for as an expense. If you spend exactly what you earn, you haven’t built an effective budget. Instead, you’ve built a strategy that ensures you’re always going to live paycheck to paycheck.
Instead of budgeting down to your last dollar, you need to leave yourself some breathing room. Ideally, you should only spend about 75% of what you bring in each month. That extra 25% is called “free cash flow.” This is basically money that you use to cover those unexpected expenses that inevitably come up each month.
Another big mistake that people make when budgeting is treating free cash flow as savings. You basically decide to save whatever you have leftover at the end of each month. This is a sure way to ensure you never save anything.
Instead, savings should be treated like a fixed expense. You decide how much you can afford to save each month – ideally, between five and ten percent of your income. Then you set this as a fixed expense in your budget. It’s like a bill that you pay yourself every month.
This keeps saving separate from free cash flow. You have money to cover all those unexpected expenses, but you also save consistently.
As we pointed out above, your budget should not be set in stone. Anytime you have a change in income or a new recurring expense, you need to revisit your budget.
But in addition, you also should make seasonal budget adjustments. Expenses from summer to winter vary widely. For instance, your electric bill could vary by up to $100 or more, depending on where you live. You can’t just decide to use less energy and leave your family freezing in the winter, so you need to adjust the target.
This also allows you to build in money for seasonal costs, such as a back to school budget in the summer and holiday budget in the winter. The more accurately you track these seasonal cost, the easier it will be to control your spending.
With budgeting apps, this usually involves customizing your categories. Most budgeting tools categorize transactions automatically. But the categories may blend needs and wants that are better kept separate.
For example, most applications auto-categorize food purchases. So, all your grocery store and restaurant purchases are lumped in together. But that isn’t a fully effective way of budgeting because it blends a need and want together.
Groceries are a need because you need food to survive. By contrast, eating out is a luxury – it costs more and should be curtailed when you’re worried about overspending. With that in mind, you should customize your app to split food into two categories: groceries and dining out.
This allows you to have one food budget that necessary (and fairly constant) and another for treating yourself and family. This also makes it easier to cut back when things get tight.
This website is intended for informational purposes and as a reference tool to match consumers with companies that may be able to assist them. View our Advertising Disclosures here.