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Budgeting & Saving
5 minute read

It can be a struggle to make ends meet each month while also saving for emergencies and unexpected expenses. If you’re feeling that pinch, you are not alone. Many people face financial challenges, but the good news is that with the right budgeting strategies, you can take control of your finances and start building a solid foundation for a secure future. In this article, we’ll walk you through the essential steps of saving and budgeting for beginners.

Open a savings account

It might seem obvious, but the first step toward successful saving is opening a high-yield savings account. A traditional savings account from your local bank may have low interest rates and little upside, but putting your money in a high-yield savings account can provide you with a much higher annual percentage yield (APY).

Look for accounts with minimal fees and no minimum balance requirements, giving you the flexibility to use your savings the way you want. Online banks and credit unions often offer higher interest rates and more favorable terms compared to traditional banks.

Build an emergency fund

An emergency fund is crucial for financial security. Start by saving $1,000 as your initial emergency fund. Once you’ve reached $1,000, continue building your emergency fund by saving enough to cover 3 to 6 months of expenses. This safety net will provide a buffer in case of unexpected events like job loss or medical emergencies. This may seem impossible at first, but with a well-structured budget and consistent savings, you can achieve this goal sooner than you think.  The more you save, the less stressed you’ll feel when facing financial challenges.

Automate your savings

A powerful way to ensure consistent savings contributions is to set up automatic deposits. Many savings accounts offer the option to set up automatic deposits from your paycheck. Determine an amount that fits your current financial situation and set it to either transfer from your checking account or be automatically deposited from your paycheck. Whether it’s every 2 weeks or monthly, the key is to make saving a priority. Automating your savings eliminates the temptation to spend money and makes saving a seamless part of your financial routine.

Set realistic goals

Setting realistic financial goals is fundamental to effective money management. Identify short-, medium-, and long-term goals. Short-term goals could include saving for a vacation or a new gadget, while medium-term goals may involve saving for a down payment on a house or paying off a major debt. Long-term goals might include retirement planning or saving for your child’s education. By setting goals, you give yourself a clear target to work towards and stay motivated on your budgeting journey.

Build a budget

Now that we’ve covered saving and goalsetting, it’s time to tackle the budget. Start by calculating your monthly income. Next, add up your fixed expenses. These are regular payments such as rent/mortgage, utilities, and loan payments. Then, account for variable expenses like groceries, dining out, entertainment, and shopping. By understanding where your money is going, you can identify areas you can cut back and reallocate money toward savings goals. Budgeting apps or spreadsheets may make this process easier, or use Best Egg Financial Health’s Money Manager, add your accounts, and get an instant budget based on your recent transactions.

Prioritize debt repayment

If you have debt, prioritize repayments in your budget while still saving. It’s good practice to balance building your savings and paying off debt. Allocate at least the minimum payment toward each debt while also contributing to your savings. Two popular debt repayment strategies are the debt avalanche and the debt snowball methods. Debt avalanche involves paying off debts with the highest interest rates first, while the debt snowball focuses on paying off the smallest debts first. Choose the method that aligns with your financial goals and motivates you to stay on track.

Tighten the belt

Reducing expenses is part of successful budgeting. Review your budget and identify areas where you can make cuts. Look for subscription services you no longer use, negotiate lower bills, and find cheaper alternatives to your current expenses. With that in mind, making adjustments to your budget so that you have some latitude for things you enjoy is important. Setting a budget to build savings doesn’t have to be painfully restrictive to your lifestyle. Small changes can have a significant impact on your budget and help you save more money in the long run.

Increase your income

Once you’ve set a budget and are finding areas to save, if you’re still having trouble making ends meet, consider ways to increase your income. Look for side gigs or part-time jobs that can supplement your current income. Explore opportunities for career advancement or additional training to boost your earning potential. Increasing your income can give you more financial freedom and allow you to save more aggressively toward your goals.

Stay motivated

Just like diet and exercise, budgeting and saving only work if they become part of your lifestyle. It’s important to stay motivated and celebrate your progress along the way, whether it’s reaching a savings milestone or paying off a significant debt. Find support through friends, family, or online communities that share similar financial goals. Remind yourself of the benefits of budgeting, such as financial security and the ability to achieve your dreams. With perseverance and determination, you can overcome financial challenges and build a solid foundation for your future.

Seek professional advice

If you’re struggling with budgeting or have complex financial situations, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. Financial advisors can provide personalized guidance based on your unique circumstances and help you create a customized budgeting plan. They can also help with investment strategies, retirement planning, and debt management. Consulting with a professional can give you peace of mind and ensure you’re on the right track toward financial success.

Conclusion

Your path to financial freedom starts with budgeting and saving. Only you can take control of your finances and build a better future. With discipline, determination, and the right mindset, you can achieve financial confidence and gain a sense of security for your future.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide financial, tax or legal advice. You should consult a professional for specific advice. Best Egg is not responsible for the information contained in third-party sites cited or hyperlinked in this article. Best Egg is not responsible for, and does not provide or endorse third party products, services or other third-party content.

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