You don’t have to spend all day with a calculator and your 2018 receipts – save that for tax time. Here are a few quick steps you can take to start getting your 2019 budget in order.
Easy Steps to Prepare Your 2019 Budget
Many people anticipate the beginning of a new year. January represents new beginnings and a chance to correct the mistakes we made the previous year. You can also make financial changes and set the course for a better 2019. Fortunately, it isn’t as hard as you might think.
Assess Your 2018 Budget
You don’t have to get into specifics. You know what your big expenses were. And you likely have a good idea of where you need to tighten your budget for 2019. Write down a few things you would like to do differently in 2019.
Write Down Fixed Expenses and Estimate Others
Some bills, like your utility bill, may change monthly. But others, like your mortgage and car payment, are fixed. Write them down to get an idea of what you will be spending on fixed expenses next year.
As for other expenses such as food, gas, and entertainment, this is a good time to set a budget for the year. If you learned from your assessment that you were spending a lot of money eating out, set a fixed, monthly amount for 2019 and promise yourself you will stick with it. It’s also a good time to determine how you can save on expenses like groceries. Consider using coupons or other money-saving apps in the new year.
Plan Big-Ticket Expenses and Vacations
Is your washer or dryer about to die of old age? Do you think you will need a new car? What are your vacation plans? Anticipating these big expenditures and budgeting for them monthly can make it easier to pay for them. For example, you would love to take your family on a beach vacation in the summer. Do an estimated cost and save for it before you go.
Speaking of Savings …
Things break and that includes people. You never know when you could face a health emergency, a natural disaster, or be an automobile accident. A savings account will cover these unexpected expenses. If your savings habits have not been great, 2019 is the time to make the change. Depending on who you ask, you should have three to six months of your salary in a savings account. However, the more you have, the better prepared you will be if you are facing a disaster.
No one can predict what will happen in the upcoming years. You could face a job loss – or you could get promoted or find a better paying job. A family member may become sick and you become their caretaker. Don’t budget for the next year with the mindset that your plans are set in stone. Prepare to be flexible and ready to take on any financial challenges you will face in the new year.
Have you started planning your 2019 budget? Tell us about it in the comments below.