Here’s 2 Ways to Get on a Solid Financial Path

Posted on December 20, 2016 in Public Policy by

Piggy Bank SavingsThis time of year gets people thinking about money, not spending too much, saving money, and having enough money. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

More money will be spent during this time of year than any other. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is a lot of money flying around. And, as people eagerly cross items off their Christmas shopping list, it causes many people to think about their financial position.

It might surprise you to know just how many people don’t have a budget. Or, maybe that won’t be surprising at all. As a financial professional, I regularly ask people about their budget only to have them look at me sheepishly and say they don’t have one. It’s a problem that spans generations. From people in their 20’s to people preparing to retire, there is a lot of people that don’t have a budget.

What I tell most people is that without a budget you are almost guaranteed to spend more than you make. Without knowing exactly what comes in and what goes out, you will eventually spend more than you make. But, the good news is that there is a few simple ways to ensure that you don’t overspend.

A recent article shares some practical ways to keep from overspending that everyone should consider. From using cash to taking your credit cards out of your wallet or purse, these are practical tips that anyone can begin implementing today. In particular, I like the tip to “focus on savings first.” When you add savings to your budget you will get used to putting some money into savings each month and ensure you have a well-funded emergency fund.

Statistics say that the average American has less than $1000 in savings. That should shock everyone. Many untimely expenses cost far more than $1000. Everything from a root canal to a new transmission, a blown furnace to a medical emergency can easily cost far more than $1000. Being so unprepared for things that happen to people everyday is unwise. By focusing on savings and being prepared for emergencies you can position yourself and your family to weather the inevitable storms that will come.

If you’re wondering how you can start saving a good emergency fund, take a look at this article. Here you will find some extremely practical tips on how you can save money each month on the regular things you buy and use the savings to build an emergency fund. By saving just $80 each month you will have a $1000 emergency fund built in just a year. From there the continued savings will build the emergency fund and you will be prepared for the unexpected.

Many of these tips to building an emergency fund center on cutting your food and gas budget. Food and gas are two things we pend money on regularly, but often don’t spend wisely. By looking for simple ways to cut our food and gas budget the savings can add up quickly. But other spending areas like subscriptions, clothes shopping, and home improvements can yield helpful savings by tweaking spending habits.

A good budget and emergency fund are the first two steps of being financially prepared for today, tomorrow, and next decade. These tools are essential in making sure you don’t rely on credit cards and interest rates to pay for routine expenses. They make sure you are saving regularly and taking advantage of growth opportunities and any applicable tax savings. They make sure you spend less than you make in order to reduce and eliminate debt.

So the question is: When is the last time you reviewed your budget? Do you have a budget? If not, it’s time to make one.

And, how is your emergency fund doing? Are you prepared for that unexpected expense? Will a $1000 emergency send you into panic or will you simply pay for it from your cash emergency fund?

Don’t be caught off-guard. Be prepared with these two very simple, basic financial tools that will make a difference now and in the future.

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