No matter how rich and successful you are, you always need to be mindful of your budget. Personally, every time I think I’m getting ahead, there’s some sort of setback. Saving money isn’t glamorous, but if you can develop some skills and strategies early on, those will quickly become habits. And even if you’re rolling in dough now, you never know what’s around the corner—a recession, a layoff—when you’ll be glad you worked so hard to save so much. Here are some budget tips that are extremely valuable at any stage of your career.
Track your expenses
First, make a list of all your monthly expenses. This includes all of your bills, your grocery budget, items you buy for your home, gas and travel, and even the coffee you buy on your way to work. Double-check your credit card and bank statements to make sure your list is accurate. You can do this on a spreadsheet or by downloading a free digital program or app to help with the tracking. Don’t forget to include a rainy day item, like a hospital bill or a repair for your car. Those are unpredictable, but usually substantial.
Add a line for savings
As you list your expenses, automatically factor in a line item for savings. Aim for saving between 10 to 15% of your income. If you plan for it ahead of time and make it a priority, you’ll stay true to it. Otherwise, you’ll spring for a new pair of shoes or another night of takeout.
Find things to eliminate
We all have a few items we can eliminate from our spending. It might be that latte and bagel you stop for every morning. It might be a trendy piece of clothing that you can’t live without. It might be a monthly subscription that renews automatically. Or it might be a few splurges on your grocery order—chips, cookies, ice cream? Either way, eliminate them! Look for things that are free or lower-cost. Making coffee at home is certainly cheaper than a coffee shop. Your waistline might thank you, too.
Set a goal
It’s a lot easier to stay disciplined with your saving and spending if you have something specific you’re saving for. Whether it’s something short-term, like a vacation or down payment for a car, or something long-term, like retirement, a tangible goal to shoot for keeps you focused.
Set up automatic savings
Most banks offer automated transfers between your checking and savings account, so take advantage of them. They’re a great way to “force yourself” to save. You can choose when, how much, and where to transfer money. By reducing the amount in your checking account, it remove the temptation to spend that money. Figure out which combination of savings tools is best for you—a savings account, CD, IRA, stocks or mutual funds.
The job market is completely unpredictable right now, and a little bit of savings in the bank might make you feel more secure. Even if your industry is safe from the ripple effects of the pandemic, you might eventually be switching jobs or making a career move that requires some extra cash. For more career advice, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com.
Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh