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  • Writer's pictureSheron Olivine

The Hallmarks of Budgeting

Budgeting is the foundation of personal finance or money management. Without it, you are basically flying blind. Whether you're saving up for a huge purchase, trying to pay off a debt or simply trying to make ends meet (a most popular one), having a solid budget in place is extremely essential. YOU MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS.


You may ask, but what exactly are the hallmarks of budgeting? Let's take a closer look.


1. Know Your Income and Expenses

The first hallmark of budgeting is to know your income and expenses. This means really figuring out exactly how much money you have coming in each month, and how much you will be spending on expenses like mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries, entertainment, etc.


By understanding your cash flow, you can begin to identify areas where you may be overspending and make adjustments accordingly. This is the foundation of creating a budget that works for you.


2. Set Realistic Goals

Once you have a clear picture of your income and expenses, the second hallmark is to set realistic goals for yourself. When creating a budget, it's important to establish clear, achievable goals that align with your financial priorities. Whether you're trying to pay off a debt, save for a down payment on a house, or simply trying to live within your means, setting goals (such as paying a certain amount monthly on a credit card balance until it is cleared in full) is essential to staying on track.


3. Create a Budget

Now you may say that this hallmark is obvious or goes without saying, but can I tell you, many persons will do 1. And 2. above, but never actually create a budget. You MUST set aside at least an hour each month to do this.


Start by identifying all your sources of income and listing your fixed expenses such as mortgage/rent, utilities, car payments. Allocate funds for variable expenses such as groceries, entertainment and dining out. Create a budget that set limits and priorities for how you will do the allocation of income. By prioritizing your spending and limiting unnecessary expenses, you can ensure that you're living within your means and saving for the future. Be sure to include a category for investments and rainy day or emergency funds.


4. Monitor/Track Your Spending

One of the most important hallmarks in budgeting is monitoring/tracking your spending. This means keeping track of every cent that you spend, whether it's on groceries, petrol, or a night out with friends.


By monitoring your spending habits, you can start to identify patterns and areas where you may be overspending. This can help you make adjustments to your budget accordingly and stay on track with your goals. Further, it also helps you to avoid unnecessary debt – those certainly NOT a part of your Plan.


5. Make a Plan for Unexpected Expenses

Another hallmark that is crucial to budgeting is creating a rainy day/emergency fund. This is a savings account that you can tap into when unexpected expenses arise. By having an emergency fund in place, you can avoid going into debt when these types of expenses come up. Even with the best budget in place, unexpected expenses can and will come up. This I can personally attest to.

Whether it's a car repair, a medical bill, or a home repair, having a plan for these types of expenses is essential.


6. Review your budget regularly.

Reviewing your budget regularly is a crucial hallmark for maintaining financial stability and achieving your financial goals. By ensuring accuracy of your budgetary numbers, identifying areas for improvement, adjusting to changing circumstances, staying motivated and planning for the future, you can ensure that you're making informed financial decisions and building a solid financial foundation for the future.


7. Stay Flexible

Finally, another key hallmark of successful budgeting is the ability to stay flexible and adjusting your approach as needed. Life is unpredictable, and unexpected events may occur at any time. For example, if you experience a decrease in income, you may need to adjust your spending plan to ensure that you're still able to cover your expenses and save for the future. This means being open to trying new strategies, making adjustments to your budget when necessary, and being willing to learn from your mistakes. It's important to remember that budgeting is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone's financial situation is different, and what works for one person may not work for another.


CONCLUSION

Overall, understanding these hallmarks of budgeting will improve your ability to take control of your finances, reduce stress and anxiety related to money, and make intentional choices about how you spend your money. By creating a budget that works for your unique situation and goals, you can achieve financial stability, security, and peace of mind.


Next week, I will talk about Tips for Sticking to Your Budget.

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7 Comments


Guest
Apr 24, 2023

Very informative

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Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams
Apr 08, 2023

Love the website This is absolutely an awesome and the tips are great. So easy to understand. Thanks so much. 😊

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Frances Brown
Frances Brown
Apr 05, 2023

Very informative!

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eriborah
Apr 03, 2023

Awesome tips, will not miss class next week

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bennett.mellesia
Apr 02, 2023

Simple and easy tips to follow. Was blown away by tracking what I am

spending on. It never crossed my mind 🤯🤯🤯

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