5 ways to clean up your budget and get back on track


Do you remember your budget

Do you know this table that has collected dust? That app that you haven’t signed in to in months?

If this sounds like you, your budget could use a little attention.

Don’t just spend spring cleaning your house and flushing your closets. It’s also a good time to clean up your budget.

Spring cleaning your budget in just 5 steps

Here are five steps to updating your money management system. No rubber gloves or disinfectant spray required.

1. Wipe away unnecessary expenses

Clean up your spending habits by cleaning up wasteful expenses like the gym membership you never use or the free trial you forgot to cancel.

Scan your bank statements for the past few months to identify recurring costs that need to be eliminated. Keep an eye out for other problem areas in your budget, such as: B. Repeated impulse purchases in your favorite shop.

2. Update your spending limits in each budgeting category

A budget is not a static system. The spending constraints that you set at the beginning of your budget may not fit your life today.

Take a look at all budget categories and see if your spending projections match your actual spending. For example, if you go over your grocery spending limit every month, it may be time to adjust your budget. You may have underestimated your expenses all along.

3. Make sure your spending is in line with your values

You work hard for your money, but it’s easy to slip cash through your fingers without a second thought.

How you spend your disposable income – what’s left after bills and necessities – should reflect what’s important to you. Value-based budgeting is a money management approach that takes this into account.

Take some time to think about your expenses and determine whether or not they match your values. When you add room for fun money to your budget, you are more likely to stick to your money management plan.

4. Consider switching to a different budgeting method

There is no one right way to budget. If you’re struggling, switch your approach.

The zero-based budgeting method is great for people who want to keep a close eye on every dollar spent, while the 50/30/20 method breaks your spending down into three broad categories.

You can cut monthly budgeting with a paycheck budget or spread your expenses more evenly with half the payment method.

With the calendar method, you can keep track of upcoming expenses and due dates. The cash handling system prevents people from pulling their debit cards beyond their spending limits.

You may even find success if you combine a few budgeting methods like this woman did.

5. Get help to keep your budget going

Clearing up your budget is the first step. After that, it’s all about maintenance.

The right tools will help you organize your finances. A budget folder keeps all important documents in one place – for example, your expense log, your debt tracker and a calendar with upcoming due dates. You can buy pre-made binders or make your own.

If you prefer an app to the pen and paper approach, there are a variety of options available. Check out this list of our favorite budgeting apps.

With someone in charge, you can meet your financial goals long after the season change. The Penny Hoarder Community is a great place to connect with like-minded budgeters. Find a money buddy there who won’t let you down the next time you want to ignore your budget.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.


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