Advice

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.

    Establishing-and-Living-Within-a-Budget.JPG

    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.

    1. Assess your income. Account for all sources of income, how much comes in every month and how frequently.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.