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Get Your Budget on a Diet

Published: 01/03/2019 By: Allegius Credit Union

Published In: Budget

As the newness of new year ebbs away from us into full on 2019, those resolutions to slim down and shape up seem like a distant memory. While that new gym membership might be uppermost in your thoughts, lets make sure you’ve put your funds in order as well as your fitness. Here are our tips for keeping your 2019 financial goals on task. 

Be Realistic

Set a goal for your money that is realistic, measurable and attainable. It’s tempting to set up a lofty goal for yourself but try to keep your feet on the ground, whatever your goal is, it should be attainable within 12 months. 

Make it something that requires self-discipline and a bit of sacrifice, but not something that is so tough to attain that you give up entirely. 

Once your goal is set, find a family member or friend who will hold you accountable to it and check in with you about it from time to time. 

Choose Wisely

Deciding on a savings account is an important task.They vary widely when it comes to interest, fees and minimum balances so do your homework, find the one that works best with your goal and your lifestyle. 

Automate it

Maybe you are forgetful or just lack the discipline to do it, but making sure a little of each paycheck goes into that well-researched savings account is as important as just having a savings account. Make it easy on yourself and have a portion of your check go directly into your savings account, then just make sure the money left to spend is what you are using as your monthly budget. 

Spending Budget

Setting up a spending budget is one of the most important steps in reaching your financial goals. 

All you have to do is track where your money is being spent. There are lots of apps out that can make this easy for you, on some you just snap pictures of your receipts, others will pull the information directly from your bank, some you can enter it manually. There’s also not a thing wrong with good old fashioned pen and paper, carry a small notepad around with you and track every cent for at least a month to see how those pennies are disappearing. 

You might be surprised where your money is going, those daily visits to the coffee shop have really added up, or maybe those compulsive purchases in the $1 section happened one too many times. 

Monthly Budget

This one should be obvious by now, any financial goal worth its salt has a budget to go along with it. Some people are comfortable with monthly budgets, others need a firmer grasp on their income and spending so they go with weekly.  We recommend taking a full account of your budget at minimum every three months. 

You can easily find free print out budget templates online or use one of the many apps available to help you keep track of everything. 

Be Smart about your Spending

There are lots of way to be savvy about where you spend your money, here are some ideas:

-Sign up for loyalty programs at your favorite stores

-Sign up for a warehouse club and buy in bulk

-load coupons to your phone or clip them for your most visited stores

- plan your shopping trips around sales and daily deals. 

When shopping online, check out price comparison websites, just because something is discounted doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. 

Use the Apps

There’s an app for everything, why not use that technology to get better at budgeting and meeting your financial goals?

There are even apps that help you sell your old clothes and stuff you would just donate anyways. You might not get a ton of money back, but something is better than nothing!  

Be Flexible

Explore signing up for a flexible spending account where you work. FSAs are often offered by employers as part of a benefits package, and they can save you money on health care costs not covered by insurance, including copays and deductibles.

After enrolling, you decide how much you want to contribute for the year. That amount is then deducted from your salary over time, before income tax. You withdraw money from the account to pay for certain eligible medical expenses, which are effectively discounted, thanks to your tax savings. But you must use up all of the funds within your benefits year.

Keep Track 

Make a money date with yourself to go through your budget and see if you are on track and where you could make improvements. 

When you hit a goal, treat yourself to something you’ve been holding back on in the name of savings. Don’t go nuts, we’re talking a latte, not a Ferrari. 

Make sure you sign up for online banking with Allegius, together, we can make your financial goals a reality!

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