The number one budgeting tip that millionaires and financially independent people say they would recommend, is having a written budget and sticking to it. That's some strong advice that has been proven to work time and time again. But how do you create a budget that actually works?
Here are 20 free budgeting tips that will help you be financially independent in no time. Risk not applying them at your own expense!
15 Budgeting tips to increase your net worth
The following budgeting tips will accelerate your financial goals and increase your net worth.
1 – Set up a regular budget planning schedule and stick to it
How many times have you said you will stick to your budget, never to revisit it again? Now you're back at stage one. Put an important meeting in your daily calendar with a reminder that repeats on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. This doesn't need to take any longer than 20 – 30 minutes to do, and when done consistently creates wealthy families.
2 – Prioritize your monthly expenses and obligations
It can be very stressful when you don't have enough money to pay all the bills, resulting in emotional decisions being made that you later regret. Have a priority list of what gets paid first each month. Some of the most important expenses and obligations are food, water, shelter, life insurance, health insurance, savings, etc.
3 – Review your bank account at least 3 – 4 times weekly
It's a good habit to make sure you log onto your bank account via the internet or the banking application on your smart phone. Why? This will make you more aware of what is going out and what is coming in. It's easy to not worry about it and before you know it, all those trips to the gas station for your favorite drink that cost $1.50 each add up to be more than just chump change. Set a schedule to check up on your accounts and stick to it. This will also aid in you catching potential fraudulent activity before it's too late.
4 – Consolidate all your accounts to as little as possible
Without realizing it, you could have accumulated a checking account at 5 different banks, along with a credit card with that promotion you applied for last month… “oh wait which credit card promotion are you referring to?” And you're spending more time logging on and checking each account that you can't remember where they all are!
If this is you, it's a good practice to make a list of every account you have, and consolidate all your accounts into 1, or maybe two banks or institutions. If you have multiple credit cards and loans at different places, consider consolidating all of your debt and closing out the accounts into one consolidation loan. Pick the most helpful credit card to keep and commit to keeping no more than 1-2 credit cards.
CompareFirst is a free online finance company that will match you with the best consolidation loan for your financial situation to consolidate your debt.
5 – Payoff your credit card balance in full each month
If you are working on getting out of debt, I advise you don't even use a credit card at this time until you have become debt free. If you are in a good situation concerning debt, finances and income, then you might be one to take advantage of some great cash back credit cards and save an extra few hundred bucks on expenses you make already.
If you do this, make sure you have your credit card set to payoff the entire balance automatically every single month, no questions asked! If you skip this one month, stop right there and pay it off until you start using it again. Credit card debt may be the reason you are reading this post in the first place, so don't let it drag you into a financial mess again.
Credit Sesame is a free app that helps monitor your credit score, and even shows you top credit card offers based on your financial situation.
6 – Make a habit to regularly invest in the stock market
Ask the millionaires of the world today how they got there, and they will say they had a written budget, and regularly invested in the stock market. It doesn't matter how much you start with, it's important that you start NOW though. Waiting one to two years to start investing could be the difference of tens of thousands of dollars in compound interest you missed out on.
These guys let you start investing with as little as $5, and have no minimum account balances to open a free account. You even get an investment portfolio designed just for you based off of your personal investment goals.
Here are 4 top rated investing apps that allow you to invest with as little as $5. They make it easy to regularly invest in the stock market.
7 – Have an emergency fund readily accessible
Your emergency fund should be at least $500 – $1000, and it should be in an account that you can have access to the money immediately. If you don't have this in place, stop all your other plans and pay minimums on your debt payments, and of course make sure your water food and shelter are paid for. Then the rest you should begin paying into a bank savings account until it reaches $500 – $1000.
You be the judge based off of your budget on whether that emergency fund be $500 or $1000. My advice is to keep $1000 in the emergency fund, but some may be in a very tight situation that $500 is a big push.
8 – Have your savings set to transfer automatically
Emotions have their way with tricking us into NOT doing something we promised we would do. One of those is putting aside a little bit of money to savings. To aid in saving for your emergency fund, or in investing in the stock market, it's a good practice to set up an automatic transfer to savings or to your investment account, and have it set on autopilot ever week, two weeks or monthly.
9 – Set financial goals
If you have no goals in place, how do you know what direction you want to go? You don't! Setting goals can be the difference between being a millionaire and being bankrupt. Set monthly goals, debt payoff goals, savings goals, and retirement planning goals. Follow up with each of those goals each budget planning session and track your progress.
10 – Work together with your spouse
Being on the same page as your spouse can make all the difference. It's like a basketball team that practices regularly together, do well together as a team. If the basketball team had never communicated or practiced regularly, it's unlikely they will achieve success. The same goes for working together with your spouse if you have a significant other.
11 – Budget every single dollar of income
This is often called a “zero-based budget.” This means that every cent of income you have is put into a category on your budget each planning session. This will give you complete and total control over whether you become financially independent or not.
12 – Take advantage of free money on the table
There are many websites that give you cashback just for shopping at major retailers through their website links. The way it works is you set up a free account, then log in and click on the retailer you want to shop at. Then you get free cashback sent right to you just for shopping through their website links. Major retailers like Amazon and Walmart plus thousands more have partnered with cashback websites.
SpentApp even allows you to link your debit card to their app, and get paid cash back on all your purchases.
13 – Start now to create multiple income streams
There are tons of ways to increase your income with just a few minutes of extra work each day. Some of them are immediate, others pay off in the long run. The more income you have, the quicker you will achieve financial independence. Having multiple income streams accelerates the process. Here are some great places to start.
Here are 15 great passive income ideas to get started creating multiple income streams.
14 – Further your knowledge on finances and learn from the experts
Experts like Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, and many others have written many books on finances that make it easy for anyone to understand basic finances. Learning from the experts will aid in your long term success and help you get new ideas to customize your budget to you and your family.
Take a look at the Money Minutes library with some great options to increase your knowledge and expertise on finances.
15 – Never compromise your retirement savings
When things get tight, it may be tempting to pull from your retirement accounts to make up the difference. While this may help the immediate need, it's really just a quick fix and not a long term change. A few hundred or a few thousand dollars less in your retirement account can be much more over the years with added compound interest. It's not worth the penalties, taxes and long term consequences.
Aly Invest is a bank that I trust to help get started saving for retirement.
Budget your way to financial freedom
My challenge to you is to apply at least 3 – 5 tips listed above and commit to doing them regularly. Once mastered, apply more tips and tricks and you will be on a sure path to true financial freedom. Best of luck!
What tips have you found to be helpful for your budget? Post your comments in the comment section below!