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A monthly budget can be life-changing. When you use a budget to track your expenses, you’re likely to find unexpected savings. You’re also likely to enjoy your money more - with the kind of stability that makes you feel more in control.
Here are a few common missteps that can throw any budget out of whack.
Try to be accurate about your expenses -- what you’re actually spending money on. Your debit and credit card statements can help. Review them from a few recent months and make two lists.
First make a list with regular expenses, the ones that are built-in month after month, like groceries, clothing, rent, mobile and data plans, student loan payments, streaming services and other subscriptions, like the gym.
Make a second list for nonessential expenses, like dining out and entertainment. Take a hard look and see where you can economize.
An emergency fund is savings set aside for major unplanned expenses, like losing your job or extra medical costs. Ideally, an emergency fund should cover 3 to 6 months of regular and nonessential expenses.
If any emergency comes up, it can wreck your budget or add to your card debt. With a healthy emergency fund, you’ll have a personal safety net - and another reason to feel more in control.
No need to fund it all at once, with one lump sum. Add to it regularly, even in small amounts. Make it a habit, one of your regular expenses every month.
That’s a good strategy for all your savings. The more often you save, the sooner your money starts earning interest.
Living with a budget doesn’t mean skipping all the fun. Build your fun into it, a regular indulgence you can afford.
When you’re comfortable having fun, you’re enjoying your money more - and you’re feeling in control all over again.
Too much credit card debt can foul up any budget. Your personalized Bright Plan automatically finds the fastest, smartest way to pay off your credit cards, even making the payments for you.
Once you’re connected, Bright learns about your income and spending habits, then decides the smartest payment to make on all of your credit cards. It even adjusts when your habits change.