Events, Money Matters

Financial Survival Part V: Budgets, Budgets, and Budgets

Today is the last day to register for the Financial Survival for Student Families Workshop! It is also our second to last post and we have some more tips to share!

We’ve been posting a few links on budgeting. See here . And lately we’ve received some excellent tips to add.

From Melissa: My advice is assess your yearly income, and set an expense budget.
1. Include all categories of expense .(Tip: use your bank statements as reminders of where you spend your money and how much you spend).
2. Be realistic – look at the amounts you already know (utilities, rent, insurance, membership/subscription fees, if applicable), and then see how much is left over
3. Divide your remaining income among the other categories.
4. Track all of your expenses.
5. Recalculate and redistribute the budget per category (i.e. $300 a month for groceries was too little; meanwhile you aren’t spending anywhere close to $200 a month on entertainment).
6. If you overspend on one category, try to ‘borrow’ from another 7. Keep track using a spreadsheet or invest in home accounting software like Quicken or Microsoft Money. (Tip: set aside some time every week to go over the past week’s expenses, so that you aren’t faced with a huge task at the end of the month!).

Free tools to keep you on track:

According to 2010 Globe and Mail article on free budgeting software, tops the list. However, Money Strands Software is also notable. If you are with a large bank, this free software can sync up with your accounts.

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s Budget Calculators. “Enter information into our online Budget Calculator about your income, savings and expenses to see where your money goes. You will be able to export your budget information to Microsoft Excel or as a PDF file once you have finished all the steps.”

Budget Pulse: “BudgetPulse personal finance software is the perfect solution for managing your finances. You can organize your cash flow, expenses and bank accounts in one place. And easy to understand charts and graphs enable you to visualize how you’re spending your money month-to-month. This enables you to track your progress, discover where you can make savings and improve how you manage your money.”

Debt Reduction Calculator The Debt Reduction Calculator is a simple spreadsheet available for Microsoft Excel®, OpenOffice, and Google Docs, that helps you come up with a plan. It creates a debt snowball payment schedule that can help you manage your payments to most effectively pay off your debts.