Your personal budget is doing just fine, but could it be better? Take a look at the simple steps that you can take to give it a significant upgrade.
Make More Room
A budget without any wiggle room is not an effective budget at all. What will you do if you underestimate how much you’ll spend on groceries? What will you do if one of your fixed expenses goes up? What if you get an emergency expense? If your budget is too tight, you’re going to panic when any of these situations happen.
The best solution for this is to add wiggle room. You can do this by reducing variable expenses — these are expenses that change every month and can be modified to put less strain on your finances. So, for instance, you can cut your electric bill in half and reduce that variable cost every month. Or you can start using coupons and discount codes when you go grocery shopping for the week. These will give you savings that will pad out your budget.
Save for Emergencies
You don’t have to keep all of those extra savings sitting in your checking account. You should consider moving some of them into an emergency fund every single month.
An emergency fund is a collection of personal savings reserved to pay for urgent, unexpected expenses like car repairs, home repairs and unplanned medical appointments. During one of these emergencies, you can withdraw the necessary savings from your fund and use them to cover the expense right away.
Why is this such a smart decision? It gives you an option to manage emergencies without disrupting your regular expenses for the month. Since your emergency fund is separate from your budget, you will still be able to pay your bills, buy groceries and cover all of your basic needs as normal. It helps you maintain financial stability.
What if you don’t have enough savings on hand? In that case, you could apply for an online loan to help you cover the expense. When applying for a loan online, make sure that it’s available in your state. For instance, you should be filling out an application for an online loan in Ohio if you live in Dayton or Cleveland.You don’t want to waste your time filling out an application for a loan that’s inaccessible to Ohio residents.
It’s not as simple as using your own savings, but it can be very useful when you don’t have other options on hand.
Take Advantage of Budgeting Apps
Budgeting apps have one major advantage over the traditional budgeting spreadsheet: they can connect to your online banking. Connecting to your online banking allows you to get a clear view of your income and expenses in real-time. There is no guesswork needed. You can see everything right in front of you.
This feature will help your budget be as accurate as possible. It will also help you track your spending patterns, letting you know whether you’re sticking to the boundaries that you set in your budget or straying far away from them on a regular basis.
What budgeting apps could you try?
- Personal Capital
- YNAB (You Need a Budget)
- Clarity Money
Sometimes, “fine” isn’t enough. You need more than a fine budget — you need a great budget. Follow these tips and make that happen.