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By: AgFed Credit Union

Welcome to AgFed Credit Union's MoneyDig blog! 

Get confident about your personal finances with a number of articles, tips, advice and more.


Building a Budget that Works in the New Year

 Jan 02, 2024
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Achieving financial well-being requires careful planning and discipline. Budgeting is a crucial tool in this endeavor, offering you the means to take charge of your finances. Various budgeting methods exist, each with its own strengths and flexibility, allowing you to align your financial habits with your goals.

We’re here to assist you in finding the most suitable budgeting method for your needs, enabling you to make meaningful progress toward your financial goals in the new year. Join us as we explore effective budgeting strategies, helping you choose the approach that fits seamlessly into your journey ahead.


Pay Yourself First

The “Pay Yourself First” method functions as it sounds: the first “bill” you pay is to your own savings account. Afterward, you continue to pay your other bills and expenses, then spend the remaining funds as you see fit. Treating your savings contributions as a fixed monthly expense allows you to shift savings to a priority rather than an option. When you prioritize saving, you ensure you have funds for the future when you need them.


The 50/30/20 Rule

The 50/30/20 rule is another strategy many find helpful when creating a budget. With this simple approach, your budget is precisely portioned between three different categories as follows:

  • 50% of your net income (or your take-home pay) is allocated to your needs. This includes housing costs, utilities, insurance payments, groceries, etc.
  • 30% is dedicated to wants or discretionary spending, such as entertainment, dining out, or keeping up with the latest fashion trends.
  • 20% goes to your financial priorities, such as contributing to your savings and investment goals or paying down existing debt.

Depending on your unique financial situation, you can adjust the proportions to fit your needs and goals. For example, you may find it better suited to achieving your goals to dedicate 30% of your budget to your savings and 20% to your wants.


Zero-Based Budgeting

In a zero-based budget, a role is assigned to every single dollar earned, leaving you with $0 remaining once all expenses are accounted for. This method requires you to anticipate all your upcoming expenses so you can allocate your income appropriately.

The level of planning and detail required for this method gives you a clear view of where your money is going. With a zero-based budget, you can ensure that you have a plan for every dollar and avoid impulse purchases.


The Envelope System

The envelope system is a classic budgeting method. In the traditional form of this method, you assign a specific amount of money to each spending category, then place cash for each in its designated envelope. Your categories can include things like bills, groceries, dining out, travel, and so on.

Once you have spent all the cash from a particular envelope, you’re out of money for that category for the remainder of the month - unless you move money over from another envelope. This method can be updated to a more modern approach by using “envelopes” in the form of separate checking and savings accounts at the credit union. When you run out of money in one category, you can transfer from another account if desired.


We’re Here to Help!

No matter which budgeting method you choose, your goal remains the same - to create a blueprint that allows you to align your savings and spending with your financial goals. By adopting the budgeting system that works best for you, you will gain control over your finances now and sow the seeds for a brighter financial future.

If you have questions about budgeting or want to discuss ways to increase your savings in the new year, we’re here to help. Please give us a call.

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