Money is a dirty word. We’re not supposed to discuss it and it should be kept to ourselves. Especially as women, right? Wrong. How else can women learn better practices when it comes to financial literacy? That’s why I decided to write a post about budget planning. Here are 7 tips to help you begin.
Budget Planning: 7 Tips to Help You Begin
- Create a Spreadsheet. Keeping a spreadsheet with a monthly budget helps you see your money all in one place. If you’re married, share access with your partner so you can both contribute information to it. Document everything from essentials to gas and mortgage. Keep your spreadsheet up to date and keep track of spending on any credit and debit cards.
- Budget every month. This one can be tricky. If you’re a freelancer like me, sometimes you just don’t know what will be coming in. If you have a salary or consistent set amount of income, this is easier to do. Start with that number and be sure you have enough (and then some) for the month. You can use a free tool like Pigly.
- Analyze your spending habits. Now that you’ve got a spreadsheet and the right tools to help, you can analyze your spending patterns. Are you overspending? Can you cut some expenses out? Do you really need to buy a $7 cup of coffee daily or can you make it at home? Are you saving enough money for future plans or a rainy day?
- Pay off debt. I know it’s easier said than done but paying off debt faster will allow you to have left over cash for other things as well as the chance to save up. College, retirement, or that second home you daydream about…
- Don’t be an impulse shopper! I used to frequent the mall at least twice a week and just buy, buy, buy. Was that the best idea? Probably not. Sure, fashionistas know the infamous Carrie Bradshaw quote, ” I like to see my money in my closet.” But Carrie was always broke, ladies. To the point she had to sell her shoes! Instead, think like millionaire, Sophia Amoruso. “…money looks better in the bank than on your feet.”
- Budget for some expenses ahead. One thing that has helped me is paying for certain expenses in advance. For example, instead of paying Netflix monthly, I pay for it every six months. Anything I can pay ahead, I try to do. This way, I have less monthly bills and life just feels easier. The same goes with the holidays. If you celebrate Christmas, for example, put aside say $30 per month. At the end of the year, you’ll have $360 for holiday shopping. Of course, it depends on how many people you are shopping for- that may not be enough!
- Buy good quality. Another way to save is by making higher quality purchases. For example, instead of buying a phone case every couple of months, buy one good one that will last you all year. And try to look for coupons or apps to save you money (or earn cashback).
I hope you found these tips helpful as you begin your budget planning journey. Remember, you don’t have to be a pro with money to be good with it. It’s all about staying organized and knowing how to manage it. And a woman with financial literacy is an empowered woman.
You got this, girl!