Saving, budgeting, and planning are all terms that relate to your finances, but do you know where to start? Creating a method that works for you and being a savvy consumer are key factors in meeting your financial goals.

Tracking what you spend your money on is one of the first steps in creating a budget. There are many ways to do this, but it’s important to find a method that will work for your lifestyle. Whether you use an app that will track and categorize spending, a checkbook register, or a spreadsheet, a key point is to be realistic about your spending.

Having a system in place to stay organized is another element of budgeting. Open additional savings accounts and give them nicknames to stay on track. Set up automatic transfers and view them as much of a “requirement” as paying your bills. Pay yourself first. This might look different for some – if it’s easier to keep the checking account for bills separate from your spending checking, it’s okay to have two checking accounts! Manage your money in a way that works for you.

Create your plan. Write down your monthly bills and living expenses, but don’t forget about contributing to your savings! By making saving a priority when budgeting, it helps you decide how much to put towards which goal, and how long it will take to attain it. Long-term budgets really turn into a new way of financial life – it won’t feel like a task when you’re consistently tracking and planning.

Add some fun things, too. Plan some spending money into your monthly budget if possible – eating at restaurants, shopping, hobbies, or taking a vacation, just be sure to balance it out with your savings, too. Our Certified Financial Counselors are here to help – call 800.400.8790 or visit us online for more information. Make an appointment and get your financial goals in motion (a free service for our members!).