Don’t Leave Your Spending & Saving to Luck

While there are things you can leave to luck or chance, your budget should not be one of them! Check out our five recommended steps to get a handle on your spending and saving.


Step 1 – Build or find a budget planner.
Your budget planner can be as simple as pen and paper or a quick spreadsheet. Or, if you’re tech-savvy, there are many budgeting apps such as Money Management from BHFCU to help you plan your spending and saving. Whatever you land on, start by calculating your monthly income.


Step 2 – Budget for planned expenses.
Next, budget for your regular expenses. This list of expenses should include things like rent/mortgage, utilities, cable/internet, streaming services, daycare, phone, gym memberships, gas, and food. (If you have a four-legged friend, don’t forget their food too!)


Step 3 – Save separately for annual and bi-annual expenses.
Outside of regular monthly expenses, there are several other annual or bi-annual expenses to account for. In this section, record things like auto insurance, vehicle licenses, yearly veterinary visits, home maintenance (i.e., HVAC servicing), and self-care services like haircuts. This is also a great place to budget for things like holiday gift spending. Set up a recurring deposit into a special savings account for these expenses so you have money set aside when the costs arise.


Step 4 – Budget for a monthly savings goal.
By now, you have budgeted for most of your planned spending, so it’s time to plan for saving. Determine a set amount to go into your savings account for unknowns and general savings. If you have the itch to travel and more monthly income remaining after spending and saving, add another special savings account as a dedicated travel fund!


Step 5 – Factor in retirement savings.
At this point, you have factored in your regular expenses, planned for annual and bi-annual expenses, and set monthly savings goals. Last but not least is retirement. If you have a 401k through your employer, your retirement contributions may have already been taken out of your starting monthly income. If not, now is the time to set a monthly goal to put into a personal retirement account like an IRA.