Budgeting is hard. We all want to have enough money for everything we need, but it’s not always easy to know what those needs are. This blog post will outline six things you should never scratch off your budget, with explanations on why these are important and how they can help improve your overall finances.
The first thing you should never remove from your budget is money for savings. Putting aside even the tiniest sum of money can make a huge difference in the long run, whether it’s an emergency fund or investments. Even if you don’t have much to save now, starting will help ensure that you’ll be better off financially down the line.
Don’t forget about saving for retirement either – this is something most people fail to plan appropriately. If there are no funds set aside, at least contribute enough so that any employer matching contributions are taken advantage of completely because these are essentially free dollars being added to your account!
These days many companies offer benefits like flexible spending accounts or health reimbursement arrangements which allow employees to pay medical expenses with pre-tax dollars. If your employer offers this, be sure to take advantage of it! Don’t forget that contributions made into a 401(k) plan are also eligible for the saver’s credit which can help make saving even more affordable by reducing your tax burden.
#2 Health Insurance
Second, make sure you have sufficient health insurance coverage. Even if you are young and healthy now, it’s important to think about your future self when making this decision –
What would happen in the event of a major illness? What is your out-of-pocket maximum on your current plan? If you’re looking at different options, you could consider researching More health savings account info as well.
As mentioned above, having the right insurance can also help reduce your tax burden. In addition, when filing taxes each year, most people receive either a premium tax credit or deduction depending on their income level – so don’t forget to factor these numbers into your budgeting!
The best way to know what health insurance plan is right for you is to speak with an experienced broker or agent. They have access to multiple carriers and can help compare plans so that you choose the best one at a rate comparable to what was quoted online.
Don’t forget, if your employer offers coverage, consider signing up as it’s often cheaper than individual policies, and in some cases, employers may even contribute towards employee premiums!
#3 Debt Repayment
Third, make sure you are actively repaying your debt. This means having a plan to pay down student loans, credit cards, and other high-interest debts as quickly as possible. Most financial advisors recommend tackling the highest interest rate first, but this isn’t always feasible – sometimes it’s better to start with those that have smaller balances or those from which funds can be withdrawn easily (such as a HELOC).
If repayment results in more than one payment per month, look into balance transfer offers on 0% APR credit cards. This allows you up to a year before incurring any additional finance charges so long as all of the payments are made on time; if not, there is usually an extremely APR penalty associated with these types of offers.
If you are still struggling to find extra funds, consider getting a side hustle or taking on some overtime hours, but never neglect your financial obligations!
If there is no way around it and you have credit card debt with an extremely high-interest rate, see if the issuer will work with you to lower this fee by asking nicely. Don’t forget about student loans either, as these rates are often variable, which means they could increase at any time without warning.
Make sure to keep track of when each payment comes due so that missing one doesn’t cause things to spiral out of control.
#4 Life Insurance
Fourth, buy life insurance if you have dependents. This means spouses and children, which most people can understand but don’t forget about parents or other relatives that rely on your income to survive! If a major accident were to happen tomorrow, would they be able to keep up with their current financial obligations?
Many Americans underestimate how much money it costs to raise (and educate) one child – this number is often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If your family depends on your salary for survival, then taking out life insurance makes sense; even better if there are ways to get discounts by taking certain health screenings before applying for coverage! Don’t neglect these important numbers while planning either, as policies become increasingly more expensive every year – especially after age 50!
Last but not least, remember that life insurance is a long-term purchase. This means it shouldn’t be bought without considering your current financial state as well as the people you would leave behind.
A policy may seem affordable now, but what happens if things change? If there are any new children or major expenses, don’t forget to adjust accordingly! Don’t buy until ready and never neglect this important part of personal finance either.
Just because you have coverage doesn’t mean you can ignore payments on other types of loans; it’s a good idea to keep track of all payments in one place, so make sure to use an automatic payment option for best results.
#5 Spending Money
Fifth, don’t spend your entire budget on the first few months of the year. This is a mistake many people make when they receive their yearly pay increase. It might feel good to buy that new car or go on an expensive vacation. Still, it’s important to remember how this will affect other financial obligations – especially if you are carrying debt!
Instead, always ask yourself, “Is this within my limits” before making any major purchases? Sometimes having something now isn’t worth incurring interest charges down the road. Remember, spending money should never be done carelessly and while there is nothing wrong with splurging every so often for personal enjoyment, knowing what you can afford at all times makes saving easier too!
Finally, don’t forget about groceries either. For many people, this is the biggest expense after rent, so it’s vital to know what you can afford on a weekly basis. If your budget doesn’t currently cover all of your grocery needs, then try looking into ways to cut back without dramatically impacting meals – for example, shopping at discount stores or taking advantage of coupons before heading out!
Also, remember that eating out every day will quickly eat away any extra money you may have had available in your budget. Instead, cook simple dinners at home and bring lunch from home, too, if possible, as these expenses add up over time!
Remember, cutting back doesn’t have to be a bad thing as long as you can still eat healthily – just make sure to take advantage of sales and usually plan one day a week where you splurge on something special instead. This way, you don’t feel deprived while also knowing that your budget is allowing for some extra fun from time to time too!
In conclusion, there are many things you should never scratch off your budget in the new year. However, it’s essential to plan accordingly and always remember that you are in charge of what happens to your finances; so take charge!