It’s time for kids to go back to school. With some of your extra time now becoming available, it’s a perfect time to review and organize your budget. Here are a few ways to examine your finances and make adjustments for the remainder of the year.
USE YOUR KID-FREE TIME FOR FINANCIAL REVIEW
First and foremost, you may want to carve out some time to review your financials while your children are back at school. Dedicating an hour or so can help you evaluate your current financial situation.
Start by looking at the money you have coming in. Whether you’re a two-income household or the sole breadwinner, understanding how much money you have to work with is essential to making over any budget. Make sure to review all streams of income including any part-time income, side-hustle cash, or investment income.
Next, review your expenses. Take a look at your regular monthly bills as well as bi-monthly, quarterly, or annual payments. If you don’t have a spreadsheet, it might be wise to start one so you can better manage all of your expenses.
In addition to all of your expenses, you may want to start tracking your spending habits. This way you can see where your money is going every month. Tracking your spending habits allows you to monitor the money going out and make adjustments when necessary.
It’s recommended to schedule weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual financial reviews so you can keep track of your progress toward your financial goals.
INVESTIGATE WAYS TO SAVE MORE
Once you understand what money you have coming in and going out, you can use this opportunity to investigate ways to save more and spend less. For example, you may discover that you never use a certain subscription service. If you cancel the service you can use the extra funds to contribute more toward your 401(k) or IRA account.
Identifying ways to save more can may help you reach your financial goals as well as prepare for a financially secure future.
START BUDGETING FOR HOLIDAY SPENDING
Every year, millions of Americans stretch their dollars to afford the festivities of the holidays. From gift-giving to opulent dinner parties to travel accommodations, Americans often get a little spending crazy. To avoid breaking the bank, it’s wise to use this time to start budgeting for your holiday spending extravaganza. Even if your holiday tends to be modest, you may still want to add a budget line for your holiday costs.
USE THIS YEAR’S EXPENSES TO PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR’S BUDGET
The better prepared you are for the year ahead, the easier it might be to navigate the budgeting challenges the year brings. From unexpected home repairs to spontaneous vacations, there are plenty of things you may not expect to spend your money on. So, before the close of the year, take a look at your budget and try to predict some hidden expenses you should expect for the year ahead.
USE BACK-TO-SCHOOL BUDGETING AS A TEACHABLE MOMENT
While you’re giving your budget a back-to-school makeover, it’s the perfect time to share the budgeting process with your kids. Sharing your budgeting expertise can help them build healthy financial habits. Since all of this information is fresh in your mind, schedule some time to share your budgeting tactics with them. You may also want to help them create their own budget. Whether they get an allowance or have a part-time job, creating their own budget can help them understand the value of a dollar.
THE COMPLETE LOOK
Each of these suggestions begin when you put aside a few minutes for yourself. Give yourself the space and time that you need to put yourself on the path of a revitalized budget. So, take a seat, try out this homework, and give your budget the attention it deserves.