Filipino Abroad Remittance Corner: Financial Education

Financial Education

Creating an Effective Financial Budget
by: Christy Belden
For many people, even those with good spending habits, creating and sticking to a budget may seem like a significant challenge. Learning to budget wisely, however, isn’t just a tool for getting by from month to month. Good budgeting is the first step towards financial stability, both now and in the future. 

Before getting started, it’s important to recognize that creating a personal budget can seem overwhelming. Coming up with an effective plan requires taking a clear, serious look at your existing financial situation. Skipping or glossing over this step may be tempting, but this choice most often leads to budgets that are just ineffective. When it comes to sticking to a budget, life inevitably gets in the way, and when an unexpected expense arises budgets can quickly lose priority. This ultimately defeats the purpose of a good, workable budget; leading to overspending that lays the groundwork for future financial difficulties.

Creating an effective budget doesn’t have to be difficult. The key, as in most every worthwhile endeavor, is proper planning. After putting a good budget in place, the next step is committing to reach clear, realistic budget goals. Here are a few tips for getting started

Determine Where You Stand

For most people, with the arrival of each month comes the arrival of expenses. Start by listing all regular, predictable monthly expenses. Examples of predictable monthly expenses include mortgages and car payments. For expenses that may vary throughout the year, like utility bills, groceries, and fuel costs, make a close estimate of the typical amount spent.

After listing all expenses, compare that amount to the household monthly income.

Expenses should not outweigh income. If that’s the case, take a close look at all monthly expenses to see where spending can be reduced in any category. Even when income exceeds expenses, taking time to consider where spending can be cut to free up funds for savings and investments in the future.

Adjust Your Spending

After determining where the overspending happens, it’s time to adjust spending habits. This may seem challenging at first, but finding viable ways to reduce spending is the most important step in the budgeting process. Consider investing at least 10% of each paycheck in savings as an important long-term goal.

Get Everyone Involved

When creating a budget for an entire household, getting everyone in that household involved in the process substantially increases the odds for success. Involving spouses and children helps everyone feel more in control and may reduce future conflicts over spending choices. Plus, it’s never too early to educate children about the power of good money habits.

Take Time to Keep Track

Make a weekly appointment to review budget goals and to adjust spending accordingly. Keeping this appointment is crucial to success, so find way to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Be sure to share these findings with all members of the household.

Don’t Forget Fun

While the initial effect of a budget may be that money for fun seems to disappear, good budgeting can eventually re-open that door. Proper financial management reduces wasteful spending, but it also increases financial organization. Eliminating overdrafts and late fees, frees up household funds for the occasional splurge. Good budgeting can’t be successful if everyone involved always feels deprived.

For more information about smart budgeting and other good financial options, visit As a payday loan industry leader and founding member of the CFSA, Check ‘n Go is committed to increasing consumer awareness and promoting high ethical standards within in the payday loan industry.

About The Author
Christy Belden works in interactive marketing for Leapfrog Interactive. Visit Leapfrog Interactive for more information.
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