Guest Blog: 5 Steps to a New Financial You in 2017

America Saves

We’re pleased to share the following guest blog from AmericaSaves.org.

Holiday shoppers have been careful each season to make their lists and check them twice. Budgets have become more discerning and savers have become better planners for their holiday spending, prioritizing savings along the way. According to a September 2016 report, two out of five millennial shoppers got a head start this year and had started buying gifts for the season before summer had even come to a close. Continue Reading…

Guest Blog: 6 Tips for an Effective Household Budget

Nerd Wallet Budgeting
 
Courtesy of Nerd Wallet, this week we have a fantastic guest blog to share with you:
 

Halloween and horror movies might not be as scary as you once thought they were—but maybe that’s because something scarier has replaced them: managing household expenses. Whether you’re a twenty-something, a couple living together for the first time, or an experienced homeowner with kids, the lingering concern over your finances might be the ghost that’s haunting you and won’t leave you alone. The way to ward off this ghost, though, is to confront it and create an effective household budget to understand your finances and your limits. Let’s break it down into steps.

1. Shine some light on your spending habits
2. Slash nonessential expenditures
3. Take off the mask
4. Prepare for worst-case scenario—and holidays
5. Review and revise your budgeting strategies
6. Get more help from tools online

1. Shine some light on your spending habits

The best way to start making a budget is to consider what you (and your family) spend your money on, on a daily and monthly basis. Here’s a list of four general categories—the first two consist of inflexible payments and the latter two are variable expenses:

  • Regular Necessities (rent, food, utilities, gas, etc.)
  • Bills and Loans (such as credit card bills, student loans, medical bills, etc.)
  • Long-Term Savings (401k, savings and emergency accounts, etc.)
  • Fun/Recreation (date night, trip with the kids, etc.)

Feel free to do this with others in your household and add on any categories they suggest to help you personalize the budget. Now, take your income and subtract out all those expenses. Include any others’ income and/or expenses in your household. Don’t panic if the result is a negative number – this is why you’re making a budget. Designate a percentage of your income to each of these categories in order to organize your monetary priorities.

Continue Reading…