The ending of a year and beginning of a new one is a great time for making resolutions. It is also a great time to make financial adjustments that will help you reach your goals. While hanging up your new 2018 calendar, schedule some time to look over your budget so you start the new year being financially smart.
Create Your 2018 Budget
- Determine how much money you expect to earn this year. Include income from your regular employment and any additional money you receive from sources such as rental properties, retirement, bonuses, child support, etc.
- What are your expenses each month? Looking at bank statements for the previous year can help determine a monthly average for utilities, such as water, electricity, and gas, and other expenses which may fluctuate depending on the season. Be sure to include credit card payments, 401K contributions, taxes, child care, internet, cable and entertainment subscriptions, transportation costs, health and car insurance, mortgage or rent, dining out and groceries, plus any additional regularly occurring expenses.
- What is the Difference? Subtract your expenses from your income and this is the amount that is unaccounted for each month. If you have a negative number, you are spending more than you are earning, which means you need to reevaluate your spending each month. Carefully review each expense and consider what changes to your spending habits might be necessary.
- Create a Realistic Budget. Set goals for the year and use your budget to help you achieve the goals. Determine how much you want to save each month and how much can be freely spent. Some of the most common budgeting goals are saving for retirement, vacation, college, home improvements, holiday expenses, and down payments for a car or new home. Spreading the cost of these over the course of a year or longer helps lessen their financial impact and allows you to be aware of improvements you can make in your spending and saving habits.
- Reevaluate Your Budget Regularly. Throughout the year, make sure that your budget is still working for your current situation and accounts for recent changes in your financial situation. If you had to pay for unexpected home repairs or worked fewer hours than you expected to, you may not have as much flexibility with your spending on non-essential expenses for the later months of the year. If you received a raise at work, you may want to increase the amount you are contributing to your 401K or savings account, or upgrade your accommodations or amenities for your vacation this year.
At Eastex Credit Union, we want 2018 to be your best financial year yet. Use our helpful financial planning calculators when creating your budget and setting your goals for the year. Also, stop by any of our branch locations to speak with one of our friendly loan specialists to make sure you are getting the most out of your budget by taking advantage of Eastex’s low rate loans.