Revisiting Your Budget

With all of the changes life can throw your way, it’s a good idea to review your budget from time to time to be sure that it still works for your current needs. Having a baby most definitely affected our finances, and I had to completely rework my budget to be sure that all of my bills were being paid while still saving as much as I can, all while trying to chip away at my student debt. It’s not always an easy task, but sitting down to look at exactly where your money is going, and where you WANT it to go, will give you a more accurate picture of what your spending habits look like, and just how much flexibility you have. Check out a few of these tips to consider when re-evaluating your monthly budget to make sure all of your bases are covered…

Have there been any major changes? Is your income still the same or did you receive raise? Have you changed jobs or lost one? Have any of your monthly payments decreased or increased? Do you have any new bills or payments to add to your current list? Make sure you’re starting out with accurate numbers in order to help prioritize your monthly payments and spending.

What are you forgetting? Be as thorough as you can! The more specific I make my monthly budget, the more I realize there are a lot of little things that I tend to leave out. I always remember to account for my larger responsibilities, like car payments and student loans, but there are smaller line items, things that you might only need to pay for every few months or once or twice per year, that can sometimes escape me, and they can really pack a punch if you don’t plan for them over time. If you divide up those total costs and set just a little aside every month, those infrequent but necessary purchases won’t feel so draining.

Are you spending more than necessary? I like to review all of my bills and eliminate or cut back where I can. Can you change your cable and/or internet package to get a cheaper rate? What about your phone plan? Are you paying for things (sorry, gym membership) that you no longer need or use? This is a great way to find extra money to contribute to paying down any outstanding debt or add to your savings.

What does your savings account look like? Do you have any big plans in the works? Maybe you’re planning on buying a house, or starting a family, or taking a trip. If your current saving habits still fit the bill, that’s great news! If not, examine some of your spending in other categories to see if you could pull money aside from your other payments. They don’t have to be large cuts… any little bit will help!

How often do you re-evaluate your budget? How do you account for changes that need to be made?