Americans today exist in precarious financial situations. In December 2020 CNBC Money reported that 63% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, meaning they spend every dime of their monthly income with little left for saving. In fact, according to a 2020 BankRate survey, nearly one in four Americans would need to borrow to cover a $1,000 emergency. Financial planners recommend that you save enough to cover at least six months of necessary expenses which could be used as emergency funds.
Learning how to make a monthly budget and taking advantage of these five budgeting tools will help you avoid financial stress and save for emergencies.
1. Monthly Budget Using Spreadsheets
Although there are many more automated budgeting tools available today than there were even just a handful of years ago, the old-fashioned spreadsheet still works wonders. It gives you complete control of tracking expenses and setting spending limits and savings goals. Both Microsoft Excel and Google Document monthly budget templates are a good place to start.
2. Use Calendar Alerts to Stay on Your Monthly Budget
With everything daily life brings work, meetings, soccer practices, social events, and packing lunches, remembering to pay all the bills can sometimes seem impossible. Make sure you never waste another cent on a late fee by asking for an electronic calendar to remind you. Set an alarm clock for your bills by scheduling alerts for payments you make regularly.
3. Bill Pay
Whether you are short on stamps or do not like writing checks, online bill pay is a great asset to your budget. Make sure you never miss a payment again by using bill pay through our online banking website to stick to your monthly budget.
Through bill pay, you can schedule and authorize your monthly payments to be sent automatically. For bills that might change month to month, simply enter the amount you wish to pay and authorize the transaction.
4. Mint for Monthly Budgeting
With online tools like this you can bring all your accounts and bills together and see them all in one place. Can be hugely helpful when managing your monthly budget.
5. Online Software and Apps
With a simple search, you can find numerous budgeting tools on the internet. Some come with a high price tag, but there are several free options that provide a more than adequate selection of tools and functions such as integrating your existing account information, scheduling monthly payments, and automatically tracking expenses.
This content is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Individual circumstances and current events are critical to sound investment planning; anyone wishing to act on this information should consult with a financial professional. The information contained in these articles was obtained from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of publishing. We do not represent that it is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied upon as such. All opinions and estimates expressed in this article are as of publication date unless otherwise indicated, and are subject to change.