When it comes to understanding your finances and making smart purchasing decisions, there's a lot you need to know. We're passionate about helping our members better understand their finances so that they can feel secure and informed about their decisions.
Establishing & Living within a Budget
When it comes to your financial bottom line, making and sticking to a budget can be the difference between uncertainty and stability. And while everyone’s finances are unique, there’s a core set of things anyone can do to regain control of their finances and move toward financial security.
How to Make a Budget
Setting a budget can help you better utilize your funds and maximize your income.
Below are some helpful hints to help you create a budget.
- Assess your income. Account for all sources of income, how much comes in every month and how frequently.
- Estimate your expenses. Start with fixed expenses— those that don’t change from month to month, like mortgage/rent, loan payments, gym memberships, bills, prescriptions and car payments. Then move onto flexible expenses — those that may change seasonally or from month to month, like groceries, gift buying, gas, vacations, personal appointments and dining out. The more specific you can be, the better. It’s a good idea to spend a month tracking every expense — you’ll be surprised what little things you overlook.
- Understand the difference. Total your monthly expenses and subtract them from your total income — that’s your difference. If it’s a positive number, you’re earning more than you’re spending. If it’s negative, you’re not living within your means and you’ll need to reassess your spending habits.
Making a budget can be simple; it’s the maintenance that’s often difficult. Fortunately, there are a number of budgeting software available to help you track, monitor and set goals for yourself. They come at all price points — including free — and can help you stay honest and within your means.
Learn more about Suncoast’s online money management tool, SunMoney.