Budgeting Made Easy: A Stable Financial House

How to build and maintain a stable financial house.

Without a good budget, it can be tough to keep your financial world organized so you can avoid challenges that often set you back. And while in the past budgeting was a hassle because you had to track everything by hand, you can find plenty of online budgeting platforms that do most of the work for you. Many of these platforms also have smartphone apps now, so you can manage your money at any moment from anywhere in the world – even on vacation to make sure you’re not overspending and putting your finances at risk with too much debt.

Why credit card debt moves around your financial house

As mentioned in the video, credit card debt can be considered either a fixed expense or a flexible expense, depending on your situation. Here’s why:

  • If you start every month with zero balances and then pay off everything you charged in-full at the end of the billing cycle, then it’s likely that the amount of money you spend on credit card debt will vary from month to month, making it a flexible expense.
  • By contrast, if you’re carrying balances over month after month, then you need to make a strategic plan to reduce your debt. In this case, you streamline your budget and cut discretionary expenses to free up the biggest set amount of money you can afford to use to pay off credit card debt each month. In this case, your payments are a fixed expense until the debt is back to zero.

Additional tips on adjusting your budget

Always keep in mind that your budget is not static – it changes, grows, shrinks and evolves constantly, so you have to review your budget often and make tweaks to ensure you’re managing your finances correctly.

The following tips can help you make adjustments promptly and correctly to keep a balanced financial house:

  1. After the initial setup, check your actual spending versus the targets you set at the end of each month for the first few months just to make sure your numbers are accurate and that your budget work.
  2. Once you know your budget is working, there shouldn’t be a need to review it as frequently, so you can let it run without reviewing it every month.
  3. However, your budget should be reviewed at least twice every year just to make sure you’re on track.
  4. These yearly reviews are best done in spring and fall because you have different seasonal costs that may require budget tweaks. For example…
    1. Budgeting for summer usually means higher utility costs and gas prices; you also want to include savings for vacations so your getaways don’t have to go on credit.
    2. Budgeting for fall and winter includes back to school shopping and the winter holidays – the two most expensive shopping events of the year.
  5. You also need to adjust your budget anytime there is a change in your financial situation. Examples of this include:
    1. Income increases from career advancement
    2. Changes in income due to job transitions or unemployment
    3. When you buy a new car or a new home
    4. When you add another child
    5. If adult children or parents move in with you
    6. Anytime you take out a new loan or credit line

What to do if you can’t fix a bloated budget

If you’re having a budget challenge that you can’t seem to fix on your own, we can help. Credit card debt and other debt payments are often the prime culprits in causing financial instability. If you’re running the numbers and you just can’t seem to make everything match up, then give us a call at 1-888-294-3130 to speak with a certified credit counselor for a free debut and budget analysis. You can also complete an online application and we’ll be in touch soon!