During these unpredictable times, it is more important than ever to set a solid foundation of budgeting basics. At Liberty Bay, we understand that money management may have become more stressful for our members over the past few months. Here are 4 simple but crucial budgeting tips to help you take control and be prepared for any potential situation.
Understand Your Cash Flow
A smart budget starts with understanding your income and your expenses. If you are employed, check your pay stubs or account statements to calculate the exact amount coming into your pocket each month, then start with our guides to Creating a Budget or Budgeting for Families.
If the pandemic has impacted your job, it’s important to know what resources you can access. Contact the Department of Unemployment Assistance to ensure you are receiving all the benefits possible. Check out our FA$Ttrack article on Managing Volatile Income for more information.
There are two types of expenses you should keep in mind. Fixed expenses are essential items you have limited control over, and don’t change much month-to-month. Think about bills, insurance, or loans. Variable expenses such as entertainment or car maintenance can change based on factors such as how often you drive or when you go out or stay in.
We know this is a lot to keep in mind, so we created Money Manager, a tool that will help you visualize and simplify your finances. Understand when, where, and how you spend with our powerful, easy-to-use Money Management Tool.
Manage Your Bills and Debt
As you understand your cash flow better, you might start wishing for an easier way to keep your expenses organized. Good news: we have TWO Online Banking tools to simplify and streamline your finances!
Money Manager is a great tool for visualizing and interacting with your money. Understand when, where, and how you spend with this powerful, easy-to-use Money Management Tool. This big-picture view will help you save more, monitor and eliminate debt, and build wealth over time.
Bill Pay is our way of helping you track and schedule payments before your bills are due so your payments are securely delivered when you need them to be. You can schedule one-time or recurring payments up to a year in advance, pay most merchants electronically, and organize all your bills in one easy online view.
Use these Online Banking tools to help you focus on other areas of your finances – or even better, to spend less time worrying about finances and more time enjoying yourself.
Set Savings Goals and Spending Limits
A big part of creating a strong budget is setting goals and limits for yourself. After your bills and other expenses are taken care of, how much do you have left for emergency savings and leisure spending? Consider our FA$Ttrack courses on Building Emergency Savings or establishing and contributing to Health Savings Accounts.
It’s important to strike a balance between making sure you have a strong savings plan and being able to use your finances for things that you enjoy. One way to do this is to give yourself a target amount to save each month, and then allow yourself to use the remainder for personal spending. Learn more about building Healthy Financial Habits and achieving Mindful Living.
If you have a Liberty Bay Mastercard Debit Card, you can also download CardValet, our mobile app that helps prevent fraud and control spending habits. Set defined spending limits for merchant categories or transaction types, get alerts when your cards are used, and more!
Plan for Large Purchases
Your Liberty Bay experts can help ensure that life doesn’t get in the way of major financial milestones. If you’re preparing to become a homeowner, getting ready to pay college tuition, or planning for any other large purchases, our library of financial calculators is a great place to start.
We know major purchases and managing personal finances can get confusing. Our Calculators are here to help clear up that confusion and make it easier for you to plan for big decisions and long-term goals. View all our calculators to get a stronger handle on your money, or talk to a Liberty Bay expert for in-depth budgeting tips and that personal touch of Uncommon Courtesy you know and love.
No matter your financial situation, these 4 budgeting tips are a great way to get back to budgeting basics, especially during the uncertain times that have come with the pandemic. Follow these tips or contact our team anytime. We are always here to help.