Become the Master of Your Money

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budgeting

In 2017, a report in MarketWatch found that about half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. It’s no surprise that a survey also found that 49 percent of Americans are “concerned, anxious, or fearful about their current financial well-being.” How can you avoid being part of these statistics? One way is to take a non-credit class like Personal Finance so you can master your budgeting skills.

Why You Should Learn Proper Budgeting Techniques

Good budgeting puts you back in control of your money. It also gives you the tools you need to save up for unexpected expenses, planned costs like vacations, and more – without giving up essentials like food or electricity. Budgeting works because it makes your expenditures more efficient.

Other Benefits of Budgeting

One of the biggest problems people face is that they don’t know exactly where their money is going. “Where did it all go?!” is a common question, especially when faced with a bill that there is no longer enough money left to pay. Budgeting stops these surprises. With it, you can spot the mounting costs of impulse buys and unnecessary spending – before they consume your month’s income. Budgeting is also important if you’re considering taking out a loan. It will make it clear how much you can really afford to pay back, so you don’t end up over your head in debt.

The practice of budgeting is meant to put you in control of your finances, not to ruin your fun or put you in a box. Done right, it is flexible enough to help you adapt to sudden expenses and give you the freedom to spend without guilt.

Who Should Budget?

Everyone should use budgeting, not just those trying to pinch pennies. In fact, people who make over $75,000 per year are the most likely to budget! Yet, overall, only 30 percent of Americans currently have a long-term financial plan that includes savings and investment goals. This doesn’t mean that budgeting is only for the rich. Instead, it implies that using budgeting can help you increase your financial well-being.

Quick Keys to a Successful Budget

In order to successfully use budgeting, you first need to find out exactly where you stand. Assess your current assets, bills, and miscellaneous expenses. This will illustrate your current financial situation, and importantly, reveal spending habits.

Next, determine your financial goals for the next one to three years. Make sure to include known upcoming expenses such as vacations, major home repairs, and similar things.

Some quick guidelines to try to meet include:

  • Housing – This should make up about 33 percent of the average budget, whether the expense is in the form of rent or mortgage payments.
  • Transportation – Seventeen percent of the overall budget is allocated here. The vehicle cost – car payments – can get up to 40 percent of this budget, while the rest goes to expenses like gas and repairs.
  • Food – This gets only 12.5 percent of the overall budget. Most families use about 56 percent of this money to eat at home and the rest on dining out.
  • Personal Insurance – Eleven percent of the budget can go to house, car, life, and other insurance.
  • Health Care – Despite some reports, this should only get 7.8 percent of the budget. Of this amount, 69 percent is for health insurance.

Of course, these are just guidelines that you can follow to get started with budgeting. Budgets are crucial for knowing and controlling your finances. It’s never too late to begin this practice. Sign up for one of our personal finance courses to learn all about the best ways to achieve financial well-being and stability.

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