The reason people often give up on their finances is because they make their systems way too complicated! The best thing you can do for your financial situation is to keep it simple.
If you’re looking for an effective way to manage your money here’s the minimalist’s guide to budgeting.
Set Your Financial Goals
The reason you want to do better with your money in the first place is to reach your financial goals for the year, so let’s start there.
List out everything you want to accomplish this year financially and we’ll incorporate those goals into our system. Just remember to be realistic!
Calculate Your Bare Bones Budget
Next we’re going to calculate your bare bones budget. This will let you know how little you can get by on each and every month.
Your bare bones budget is the bare minimum of expenses you need to get by each month. You can read this post for more instructions on how to calculate your bare bones budget.
Add in Your Other Expenses
You’re going to have expenses beyond your bare bones budget. Now is the time to add those in. Start listing out everything you’re paying for that isn’t required for your survival. These would be things like internet, cable TV, cell phone bills, gym memberships, clothing budgets, etc.
Go through and cancel any recurring subscriptions that you no longer want. List all the other expenses in your budget.
Go Through and Lower Your Fixed Expenses at the Same Time
Out of the “extras” in your budget you’re going to go through and try and lower them one by one. I’m willing to bet that you can save thousands of dollars a year by just focusing on getting better rates on your insurance, phone, and tv package.
If the current company that you’re with won’t give you a better a price then switch to another company.
I’d recommend that you call an independent insurance agent to lower your insurance so that they can compare your policy apples to apples with a bunch of different insurance carriers. You can check out Republic Wireless for super cheap phone plans (starting at $5 a month!) and check out Netflix for an alternative TV provider.
Put Your Financial Goals on Autopilot
Now that all of the hard things are out of the way and you’ve got your bases covered you know how much money you can afford to put towards your financial goals.
Since it is so easy to take that extra money and blow it on things you don’t really need the best thing you can do is automate it. If your goal was to save more have money withdrawn from your checking account or check each month. If your goal was to pay down debt then have your payments automatically withdrawn.
Bottom line: put your financial goals on autopilot so are getting fulfilled and your extra money doesn’t get wasted!
Now all you have to do is pay your normal recurring bills as they come in. You’ve focused on the big wins, lowered all of your fixed expenses at the same time, automated the important stuff, and are throwing money towards your debt every month.
You don’t have to worry to clipping coupons and analyzing your budget every day. You’ve accounted for everything you’re going to spend and have put much of your finances on autopilot.
Now you can reach your financial goals for the year without having to lift a finger.