Check out some of these budgeting hacks and tools to help you reach your financial goals

Determine a Monthly Income – Your first budgeting step is to determine your monthly income. When they think about income, most people think of what they earn from their job. However, it is important to include all sources of income. This includes income from any side hustles or extra curriculum activities.  After you become comfortable managing your money on a monthly basis, you may want to consider a six-month plan and, eventually, work up to a yearly budget. I love using a budget planner to help me balance my finances and keep on track. Having a personal finance journal is a must-have when implementing budgeting hacks check out my favorite one on amazon Budget Planner

Start Saving – This one had to be one of the hardest for me because when you have so many financial commitments to maintain sometimes you find it hard to even understand the concept of saving for a rainy day. Saving does not always mean actually putting cash flow aside for a rainy day. You can implement budgeting and save through one simple step. Changing your mindset and living simply. If you strive to live simply and manage your expectations, budgeting will be much easier. If you’ve already made a habit of living it up every weekend, start by taking baby steps to scale back your lifestyle. You’ll be surprised how quickly you start to find happiness in the little things. If you’re looking for a practical guide that will show you how to save money and spend less I recommend The Minimalist Budget.

Identify High Priority Bills – Your next budgeting step is to determine your high-priority bills. Examples include a mortgage or rent payment, basic utilities, auto payment, and insurance premiums. These payments are generally fixed, and you are expected to pay them every month. After subtracting the priority bills from your net income, you will ideally still have money left for other important items, such as groceries, gasoline, and credit cards. The first time you set up a budget, it may be hard to determine how much you will spend on groceries or gas. So the next step is to try your best to estimate these amounts and track your expenditures to monitor the accuracy of your estimates. Comparing your estimates to how much you actually spend will help you adjust your budgeting amounts for the next month. Your budget should align with what matters most to you!. In other words, your budget should be a reflection of your priorities.

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