Tips to Keep Your Budget From Burning Up - Brink's Money
Tips to Keep Your Budget From Burning Up
11 Aug 2021
Life is going back to normal for the most part, and as the summer heat is at its peak, people are enjoying the things they used to do before the pandemic hit. As we go out more, we’ll see an increase in our spending, but that doesn’t mean we should forget about the budget we created to help get us past the last year. 2020 changed the way we viewed money and, in some ways, even transformed our spending habits with lessons we’ll hold onto from now on. Enjoying a more normal life and sunny days shouldn’t burn a hole in your budget, so here are a few tips to keep in mind as we finish off the summer and head into a post-covid world.
Revisit Your Budget or Make a New One
Your current budget got you through 2020 and the start of 2021 and reflected your situation during the pandemic. During this time, you probably spent less on gas and going out but perhaps increased your online shopping costs. This summer, it’s important that you reevaluate your budget as you spend more and more time outside of your home. When revisiting your budget, be sure to determine the types of expenses that will remain constant as well as though you can anticipate. You may even consider scratching your budget and making a new one if that’s easier. The significance of a budget is to help give you a realistic idea of how much money you are bringing in and where that money is going.
Anticipate New Expenses
As we rebalance our budgets, it’s important to account for the day-to-day expenses that you perhaps didn’t have to worry about while being home. If you worked from home during the pandemic, you probably saved on transportation, meal, and wardrobe costs. As you return to the office, you’ll need to consider these expenses when creating your new budget. Additionally, we expect grocery bills to remain elevated as food prices consistently rose during the pandemic. It’s essential that you pay close attention to other expenses such as student loans and child-care programs.
Increase Your Travel Budget
If you have worked out your budget and find that you have some extra money at the end of the month, consider contributing to your travel budget. After spending more than a year at home, you’re probably itching to get outside and adventure. Make the most of having a few extra dollars and save up for a trip you’ve been wanting to take for the longest time. This travel budget could also mean going to see friends and family once again after endless FaceTimes and Zoom calls.
Contribute More to Your Emergency Fund
As we mentioned in our “Money Habits to Keep in Mind After the Pandemic Era” blog post, having an emergency fund is essential. No one could have seen a global pandemic coming which showed us the importance of setting money aside for unexpected events. If you have extra cash lying around and perhaps traveling isn’t on your mind, then consider making regular contributions to your emergency fund. Contributing even a small amount like $10 a month to an emergency fund can be helpful in the case that an emergency does happen and won’t break your budget.
Don’t Forget to Build in Fun
When you create a post-pandemic budget, don’t forget one of the most important parts, which is building in fun. We all missed out on fun outings, so it’s essential that you think about the things that make you the happiest and that you missed the most. The goal of saving money is not to deprive yourself of what you enjoy the most but to find a healthy balance between saving and spending. When payday comes around, the first and most important step is to take care of bills and utility expenses, but it’s beneficial for you to have a fun category to treat yourself every once in a while. Building fun into your spending is all about developing mindful money habits, so you can invest in yourself a little more.
Manage Your Debt
The final tip we have for you is to remember to set goals for yourself, so you’re in good shape to manage your debt. Financial experts suggest paying down the highest-interest debt first and then making your way down. If you prioritize paying off any debt or loans, then you can create more disposable income for your household and allocate funds to savings and emergency funds faster.
As you transition into a more normal way of life, we hope these money tips are at the foundation of your post-pandemic budget. With the help of any financial advice you gained in 2020 and lessons you continue to exercise in 2021, you are capable of creating a spending plan that provides you flexibility and balance.
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