Back to Basics: Budgeting

Posted by Mackenzie Arsenault on January 17, 2017

Ugh; the dreaded ‘B’ word! The best thing for you is sometimes the hardest but it doesn’t have to be so when using the following tips and tools!

The ‘cornerstone’ to any financial plan is your cash flow – what is coming in and what is going out. You might think of it as your “spending plan”. Without reviewing your cash flow it is impossible to budget and then uninformed decisions are made; can you really afford that vacation this winter?

To begin, check out our ‘Cash Flow Worksheet’ under News & Resources à Helpful Documents. Use this as a guide. As for filling it in, start with your gross pay (before taxes) and the things that are not negotiable (fixed or non-discretionary) – rent, car loan, student loan payment, electricity bill, etc.   Then what do you have left?

From here you want to create a budget for the additional variable categories; dinning out, shopping, gifts and groceries. Don’t forget to include monthly savings! (We’ll cover that in a later blog)

Once you have your budget you’ll need to track your spending to see if you are staying on track -- I highly recommend Mint (www.mint.com). This app automatically categorizes your spending as it happens. You can link all your accounts (checking, savings, credit, debit and even investments!), this makes budgeting a breeze!

Keeping on track with your budget allows you to save money for the things you truly value and help you make informed financial decisions.

"If you fail to plan, you're planning to fail!" – Benjamin Franklin

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