School is here! Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner! If you are like many of us, August is a time that you find your budget a little tight. As you go into the coming months, here are a few simple tips to keep your budget healthy.
Envelopes Really Help
Dave Ramsey is well known for talking about envelopes and for many people this is a simple way to set aside essential funds. When you have cash in an envelope marked food, you are both less likely to use it on something else and it won’t be spent on automatic bills or other electronic funds. This is really easy to do if you work in a tipped industry but anyone can take out food budget at the beginning of a pay period. This means that you won’t be pulling out your debit card and overspending your accounts when you go shopping and it will also give you a physical feel for how much money you have left in your food budget.
This works well for things that you pay in person like food, gas, household needs, and some other budget items.
Some stores put Christmas decorations on the shelves right now and mark them off before the season really starts. You can save money by shopping now rather than in the rush of December. Likewise, plan out a sinking fund for other events like Halloween and Thanksgiving. Do you like decorations? Do you want to go all out and get the full sized candy bars for your neighborhood kids? Plan ahead and start putting small amounts of your budget aside each pay period for your desired activities.
As we go through the last half of 2021, there are many things that might give you cause to panic. Stop, breathe, and take stock of the reality around you. If the budget is tight, can you do something to increase income? Can you do something to reduce bills?
A budget is only as useful as we make it, so take time today to write out your bills, your income, your expenses, and plan out how you are going to spend over the next few months.