It’s Financial Literacy Month…Do You Know Where Your Budget Is?

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Stories from The Patch

Did you know that April is Financial Literacy Month?

At The Cabbage Patch, part of our mission is to improve the lives of the families we serve by empowering parents with knowledge and resources. At our Patch Parent meetings, we teach parents about all kinds of life skills, including financial responsibility, and we thought we would share some insights from those lessons. Everyone can use some budgeting tips!

How to set up your budget:

  • WHAT’S IN?
    • Make a list of all your income sources.
  • WHAT’S OUT?
    • Now make a list of your expenses (Don’t forget that Starbucks coffee or drive through lunch.)
  • WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
    • Subtract your expenses from your income on a weekly or monthly basis.
    • What is the difference – positive or negative?
    • If you have positive funds remaining, this is what you can spend or save.  This number should always be positive!  If not, then redo your budget.

    Patch Parents learning to be the best parents they can be!

    Patch Parents learning to be the best parents they can be!

TIPS:

Project your needs and start building estimates. What are your typical expenses? What’s coming up that may impact additional expenses? Look ahead so you can stay ahead!

Keep your future bright by avoiding debt or unnecessary credit issues. Only spend what you HAVE on what you need the most.

Determine the amount of your budget that you can afford to save each month. Have it direct-deposited to your savings account, or if you don’t have direct deposit, set up an automatic monthly transfer. You won’t miss the money, and the savings will make a big difference for you later.

Take out enough cash to last one week at a time. Make up your mind that the cash you have is all you get for variable expenses, or things that you could live without, each week. It’s much easier to turn down a $60 pair of shoes when it will take the last of your week’s cash than it is when you just have to swipe a credit card.

Invest in a programmable thermostat and adjust the temperature to save money on utilities.

Buy clothes out of season. Coats are discounted at the end of winter, and bathing suits are on sale at the end of summer. Pick up what you need and put it away for next year-it will seem new to you then!

Comparison shop to whittle down your grocery bill. If you can resist the one-stop shop, you can find the best deals on the items you need.