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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A New Budget for a New Year

Melissa Hincha-Ownby 

            

new budget for a new year

It is hard to believe that another year has gone by; I am now the mom of a teenager and a tween and when I look to the future, I see college expenses. So now it is time for me to sit down and create a new budget for the New Year. If you’ve never budgeted before, why don’t you join me in creating a financial plan for 2015?

Budget Creation Tips

The bookstore shelves are filled with personal finance gurus sharing their advice on creating a budget. Although everyone’s advice differs a bit, there are a few budget creation tips that will get you started.

1.    Write out a new budget regularly. You can choose to create a new one each month or for each paycheck, but don’t use a generic monthly budget. Each month is different and so you need a new budget written out before the month starts.

2.    Make it fun. I’m a numbers nerd and so I like spreadsheets and budgets, but I understand that the process is intimidating to some. Find a way to motivate yourself to enjoy the process.

3.    Consistency is key. As in almost every aspect of your life, consistency is key. If you’re new to budgeting, the consistency you should start with is picking a day and time to create the budget. There will be bumps in the road as you figure out how you will create your budget – spreadsheets, pre-packaged software programs or good old fashioned pen and paper.

Sticking to the Budget

Sticking to a budget isn’t easy. Sure, it sounds easy on paper, but the follow-through requires dedication on your part.

1.    Create a budget before you spend the money. In my opinion the most important part of sticking to your budget is to create it at the beginning of the month. The end of the month should be used to look back at expenses and revise your budget for next month as needed.

2.    Find an accountability partner. Married people should use their spouse as their accountability partner. If you’re single – ask a friend or relative to help you stay on budget. I understand that some people view personal finances as a taboo topic, but it is easier to stay on budget if you have someone else on the journey with you.

Are you ready to create a new budget for the New Year? If not, why not set a personal finance New Year’s Resolution instead.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Hincha-Ownby.

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