Having a budget is a crucial component of overall financial health. It provides a roadmap for managing your money, helps you save, and enables you to work towards debt payoff goals. However, creating a budget is not a one-time task. It requires periodic revision to ensure it remains relevant and effective for your changing financial circumstances. That’s why we’re here to highlight four times you should revise your budget.
1. New Job: If you start a new job, it’s essential to revise your budget as soon as possible to reflect your new salary. Your income will likely be different, and you may have new or altered expenses. For example, if your new job is closer to where you live, you might be able to walk or bike to work instead of driving, leading to savings on gas expenses. Conversely, if your new job requires a longer commute, you may need to allocate more money towards transportation costs in your budget.
*On a related note: if you’re thinking of starting your own business, this definitely requires a revised budget too! Even if you get a business loan, you may still have to pay for some expenses out of pocket. Adjusting your budget is especially important if you decide to become self-employed.
2. Starting to Pay Off Debt: If you have decided to make a concerted effort to pay off your debts by paying more than the minimum amounts each month, it’s time to revise your budget. Look for areas where you can reduce spending to free up more money for debt repayment. Entertainment expenses, grocery costs, and clothes shopping are often areas where savings can be made. Redirect the money saved from these areas towards paying down your debts. This proactive debt management approach is an important piece of advice to follow.
3. Moving to a New House/Apartment: Relocating to a new place presents an opportunity to revise your budget. If your rent has increased or decreased, make the necessary adjustments in your budget. Additionally, consider revising your budget before the move to allocate extra funds for moving expenses. This may include costs for moving supplies, hiring a moving company, and purchasing any new items needed for your new home.
4. New Baby: The arrival of a new family member necessitates a budget revision. You’ll need to account for new expenses associated with the baby, such as baby supplies, healthcare costs, and potentially starting a college fund, such as a 529 plan, for your child’s future education. It’s important to factor these expenses into your budget to ensure you can adequately provide for your growing family.
In addition to these specific instances, it’s crucial to regularly review and revise your budget whenever there are major life changes, alterations to your income or expenses, or shifts in your financial goals. Your budget should not remain stagnant throughout your career or different life stages. By updating and revising it, you can ensure that your budget remains aligned with your current financial situation and aspirations.
To stay on track, it’s recommended to review your budget monthly. This allows you to monitor your progress, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments promptly. By keeping your budget up to date and relevant, you enhance your ability to achieve your financial goals and maintain control over your finances.
In conclusion, revising your budget is essential for adapting to life changes, optimizing your financial plan, and ensuring your budget continues to serve as an effective tool for managing your money. Embrace the practice of revisiting your budget when major events occur, income or expenses change, and on a regular monthly basis. By doing so, you can stay on top of your finances and increase your chances of reaching your financial goals.
If you struggle to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session today!