What’s your New Year's resolution? If you don’t already have one, I have an idea! Let’s talk about how you can save money to go on vacation, or have even more money next holiday season. Now is the time to create financial goals and become aware of where your money goes. Imagine how much stress you will relieve just by knowing where your money is going. I know that it has helped me a ton this last year, so let’s get to saving!
There are only a few steps to creating a budget that will work for you.
1. Monthly income: the amount of money coming in from paychecks and other monthly sources.
2. Other income: incoming money from odd jobs, gifts, allowance, etc.
3. Needs: Things necessary to survival bills, food, rent/housing, savings, emergency fund savings etc.
4. Wants: all other expenses, things that are not needed to survive.
5. Net income is the amount of money left over after paying all expenses (steps 3 and 4) this money can be used to put more into step 4 or put into savings in another way.
Let’s go back to saving money for vacation and see where that lines up in our budget. Let’s say that my vacation is going to cost $1500 for just me. I want to take my vacation in July, so I have February through June to save up, or $300 each month. I can list $300 in step 3 or 4 for each of those months and place this into a savings account, or leave in my checking account as long as I don’t touch it (which can be the hardest part!).
Adapting my budget in this way allows me to save for a vacation ahead of time. Many other goals can be structured the same way. If we wanted to have more money for the holidays we can start saving now, right?
There are many free resources that can help you reach your financial goals. Mint is an easy-to-use application for smart phones or you can use their website. It’s free and allows you to keep track of all accounts in one place. It also has a goals section and can also link your bills and set reminders for when they are due.
Consumer.gov also has free printouts that can be mailed to you. Microsoft Excel is also a great place to make a budget. There are also many different sites that can help plan and create budgets.
I personally can help teach community groups or employees the benefits and how to budget at any time. I can be contacted through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (Office: 360-538-4043, Work Cell 360-358-5622). I also offer Money Smart Classes and other financial based presentations catered to your needs.
So here’s hoping that 2017 brings you wealth and financial literacy!