How to take your budgeting to the next level 

If you have a financial goal in mind or just generally want to start saving more, then it might be time to upgrade how you budget. Adding a few steps to your everyday routine has the potential to make your finances easier to manage so you can reach your short- and long-term goals. 

Work with a professional

One way to better understand your financial goals and build a program to meet them is to begin working with an advisor. Many financial advisors have the knowledge and tools to assist you in a variety of ways that can range from saving for retirement, beginning a college fund for your children, to looking through insurance plans. Advisors may also be able to help with more complex concerns that evolve from having substantial assets. An advisor can help you tailor your plan to your lifestyle, circumstances, and goals.    

Keep your savings separate 

Having your savings in a separate location from the money you are actively spending can be a great mental trick. If you don’t see the money, you may be less tempted to spend it. You can also have direct deposit or automatic payments set up to go into a high-interest account so that your money can grow without you even having to touch it. High-interest savings accounts can often earn a higher annual percentage yield than checking accounts. This option is a great way to earn some money without doing much work.

Use the 30-day rule

Impulse purchases can quickly derail any budgeting plan, and the 30-day rule is a great tool to determine whether you really want to spend your money on a non-essential purchase. 

The goal of the 30-day rule is to take emotions out of your purchasing. To follow the rule, write down the item you are considering purchasing (that new purse, the air fryer, the latest fitness watch) and let that sit for 30 days. After that month, if you know you still really want the item or it has proven itself to be something you need, go ahead and buy it! If you’ve forgotten about it or realize it you didn’t really need your tenth pair of sneakers, then put that money into your savings account. 

Remember, this technique is for discretionary purchases – you shouldn’t wait 30 days to decide if you need to pay your electric bill! 

Don’t save your credit card number to your favorite stores

This trick works well with the 30-day rule. Saving your credit card number to your go-to store accounts or on your phone can make it far too easy to make impulse purchases with just the tap of a button. By adding an extra step before you can spend money, you also give yourself a moment to step back from the purchase and decide if it’s something you really need. 

Use whatever budgeting tool is easiest for you to keep up with 

Whether it be an app, excel, or good old pen and paper, it’s important to pick the format that you will stick with when it comes to updating and keeping track of your budget. There is no best method, it should just be one that you can stay consistent with. 

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