4 Simple Steps to Help You Stick to Your Budget

Now that we’re two months into the year, many of us are reviewing our progress on those New Year’s Resolutions. While some of you are on the right track, others are realizing they’ve set unrealistic expectations for themselves and are setting new goals to work on moving forward.

But there’s one thing you can always reevaluate and improve upon: your personal finances. Sometimes this means returning to the basics – and your budget is a good place to start.

Whether your budget’s gone astray or you’re simply looking for easy tips on how to make a budget, here are four steps to get you, and your budget, headed in the right direction:

  1. Assess your financial resources. With direct deposits offering the option to have paychecks deposited straight into your bank accounts today, sometimes it’s important to remember just how much is being deposited into each account and when. Make note of these important dates to better plan your budget.
  2. Calculate your expenses. Bills, utilities, groceries – these are the items that comprise your monthly expenses. After calculating the available resources you have flowing into your account each month, subtracting your expenses can help you determine how much you have for saving and other costs.
  3. Determine your discretionary income. What remains after you’ve subtracted your expenses from your financial resources each month is your discretionary income, or the money you have left to spend on entertainment, dining out, and other leisurely activities.
  4. Set goals. After you’ve calculated your financial resources, monthly expenses and leftover discretionary income, establish goals for yourself – or reevaluate your previous ones – to keep your budget on track down the road.
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