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Six Ways to Make Budgeting Simple


Woman reading a piece of paper

Everyone wants to increase their savings, but planning how to get there is the hard part. Luckily, there are many tools and tips to make budgeting easy, whether you prefer to go digital or old school. Here are some easy ways to save and make your year lucrative.

Use a Budgeting App

There are many apps out there to help in your budget goals for 2019. EveryDollar and Mint are just some of them. These apps can help you save money by tracking your spending. Service Credit Union members can also access the MX Money Management tool, which helps track spending and set a budget, via online banking. These tools are a general run of what you can use for your budgeting and saving needs.

Use the Envelope System

This tried and true method is what an app does digitally, but you use envelopes and a notepad. Each envelope has a purpose, such as rent, utility bills, etc. After you receive your paycheck, either cash it or withdraw the funds if you receive direct deposit, create a checklist of where money is going, and then distribute the funds you earned. In this scenario every dollar has a purpose and a destination, including a savings envelope once you are done with the essentials. You can deposit what you need and pay online, or mail a check. The goal of this system is to assign a goal for every dollar on the table.

Use a Budget Worksheet

This is an easy way to calculate spending using basic addition and subtraction. Following the sheet, you will enter your income and spending for a set time period. This is similar to the envelope system but instead, you put it on paper and then distribute using tools such as online banking and bill pay. The outcome is an easy to follow system when you know how much you have just by putting it on paper. You can download an example of a budget worksheet here.

Save the Change

Dedicate your own round up savings, or save the change. Let’s say you look at your online account balance there is $100.95 available. Take the 95 cents and toss it into a digital or physical savings account. You may not be able to transfer that many times during a month but if you pulled it out and tossed it into a jar that would add up! You can also clean out your car, or any change purse you may have and keep tossing that change away for a rainy day.

Revamp Your Spending

Take out your normal spending on going out to eat or coffee, and instead of spending it, put it into a savings account. Try it for a month and see how much you save — it may surprise you.

Snowball Your Bills

Keep saving the amount you would spend on temporary bills after you’ve paid them off. For example, if you pay off a credit card or an auto loan, take the normal payment you had and put that into savings. The benefits are twofold: you will balloon your savings quickly and you will have payments saved up for another credit card or auto loan.

Having goals is the most important takeaway, and being financially fit is one of many goals you can set for 2019. The above tools are just guidelines to help. You’ll need to apply yourself to saving for that vacation, paying off a loan, a new car, a new house, a wedding, etc. All of these things can be achieved with proper budgeting tools.

This is an easy way to calculate spending using basic addition and subtraction. Following the sheet, you will enter your income and spending for a set time period. This is similar to the envelope system but instead, you put it on paper and then distribute using tools such as online banking and bill pay. The outcome is an easy to follow system when you know how much you have just by putting it on paper.