Personal Finance

Better Finances for a Better You

Topic: "Budgeting"

← Curating the web to find the most interesting and helpful information about your money.

Budgeting

Try building better money habits with these five conversation starters

5 conversation starters to build better money habits →

Budgeting

The “budget” has been known to make people cringe, cry, and bury their heads in the sand, but budgeting challenges don’t have to keep you from getting the job done. Budgets are just a set of guidelines to help you manage your money.

3 Common Budgeting Challenges to Overcome →

Did you know?

The average vacation for one person in the United States costs about $1,986 per week. A vacation for two people will typically cost around $3,971 per week, according to Pacaso.

Use Neontra's free Vacation Calculator to budget and help you plan your next trip by estimating the total travel costs →

8 Tips to vacation on a budget from Chase

  1. Start with a vacation budget
  2. Plan ahead of time
  3. Choose budget-friendly vacation destinations
  4. Choose budget-friendly accommodations
  5. Meet people
  6. Do your own driving
  7. Consider inexpensive activities
  8. Save for vacations over time
Without a budget, it can be easy to overspend on a vacation →

Budgeting

Whether you're a first-year student finding your independence or a senior preparing for the next chapter of your life, budgeting is vital to financial success.

Budgeting Tips for College Students: A Step-by-Step Guide →

Infographic of the week

Chart: The Declining Value of the U.S. Federal Minimum Wage

This graphic illustrates the history of the U.S. federal minimum wage using data compiled by Statista, in both nominal and real (inflation-adjusted) terms. The federal minimum wage was raised to $7.25 per hour in July 2009, where it has remained ever since.

Chart: The Declining Value of the U.S. Federal Minimum Wage Nominal vs. Real Value of the U.S. Federal Minimum Wage →

Did you know?

Faced with a $1,000 emergency, most Americans say they wouldn't have the money

Neontra's Health Check monitors how your emergency savings are tracking →

Budgeting

TikTokers are trying to save more money in 2024 with the help of the new “loud budgeting” trend

Find out if this trend can help you reach your financial goals from Jasmin Suknanan →

Did you know?

Americans spend $779 on food per month, with almost two-thirds being spent on groceries ($475) and the rest on eating out ($303), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey.

American Households' Average Monthly Expenses →

Budgeting

If you’re looking to create a personal budget, start with these six steps

  1. Calculate your net income
  2. Track your spending
  3. Set realistic goals
  4. Make a plan
  5. Adjust your spending to stay on budget
  6. Review your budget regularly
Bank of America - Better Money Habits →

Did you know?

Average household earnings in 2022 were $94,003, while average total expenditures for the year were $72,967, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey.

American Households' Average Monthly Expenses: $6,081 →

Budgeting

7 tips to save money on family expenses from Discover

  • Focus on food costs
  • Keep birthdays simple
  • Give secondhand a chance
  • Choose frugal fun
  • Plan ahead for the holidays
  • Hack your housing costs
  • Talk budgeting and saving with your kids
Get the whole family in a savings mindset with these tips →

Budgeting

When to make a budget:

  • Significant changes in your personal life
  • Job status has changed
  • When you don't know where your money is going
  • Find it difficult to save regularly
  • Your debts are escalating
  • Your feeling overwhelmed by your finances
  • Feel like you’re not in control of your money and debts
  • Thinking about a major purchase
10 Tips to Save Money →

Budgeting

Tips to stay within your budget

  • Save all of your invoices and receipts.
  • Try to keep your expenditures inside the parameters of your budget.
  • Any time there are changes, such a wage rise or an increase in bills, update your budget.
  • At the conclusion of each month, do a comparison between your actual spending and your budget.

Review your spending plan from time to time. If you find that your actual expenditure frequently deviates from your budget, update your estimates to be more realistic.

More Ways to Stick to your Budget and Jump Start your Savings →

Serious Stuff

Total Credit Card Debt Reaches $1 Trillion: 5 Ways to Get Out of Debt by Evelyn Waugh

Here are 5 steps to get out of debt:

  1. List everything you owe
  2. Decide how much you can pay each month
  3. Reduce your interest rates
  4. Use a debt repayment strategy
  5. Avoid new debt
Detailed steps to get out of debt →

Budgeting

Four Tips For Budgeting In The Modern World from Liz Frazier @Forbes

  • Don’t be scared of change
  • RE-Categorize your spending
  • Cut the right expenses
  • Budgeting is a practice
Learn more details from Liz Frazier a Fee-Only Certified Financial Planner, Author & FinLit Advocate →

Budgeting

The word "budget" means different things to different people. You might think of budgeting (or "living on a budget") as living below a certain standard or not being able to afford the things you want. On the other hand, you might think of budgeting as a tool to prioritize your spending, and to help determine and reach your financial goals.

Northwestern University on Financial Wellness and Money 101 →

Budgeting

Finding the balance between your needs, wants and savings can be difficult. Forbes highlights seven simple steps for creating and managing a successful monthly budget.

How To Budget In 7 Simple Steps →

Saving

The new year is a great time to update your budget, say financial experts. Here's what you can do to curb your spending, save for emergencies and keep your investments on track.

Saving NPR Life Kit Podcast: Refresh your budget with these simple finance tips →

Budgeting

9 financial New Year’s resolutions to set now and achieve in the new year from Alexandria White

  1. Save more
  2. Improve my credit score
  3. Create a personal budget
  4. Pay off credit card debt
  5. Pay my full credit card balance each month
  6. Track my credit card applications
  7. Check my credit score more often
  8. Check my credit report more often
  9. Sign up for a credit monitoring or identity theft protection product
Alexandria White of CNBC Select reviews the top financial New Year’s resolutions and how you can achieve them. →

Did you know?

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average American planned to spend $826 in 2022 on Christmas gifts, food, and decorations. Of that $826 dollars, around $500 are spent on gifts for family members.

Budget for all your holiday spending and ensure don't spend too much →

Budgeting

5 Tips for Low-Effort Budgeting from Experian


Here are five low-effort budgeting tips to make sticking with a budget less work:

  1. Start by looking back
  2. Use a flexible budgeting system
  3. Set up automatic savings
  4. Use a budgeting app to track spending
  5. Put your bills on autopay
Here are five low-effort budgeting tips to make sticking with a budget less work →

Budgeting

The zero-based budget Sometimes called a zero-sum budget, is when your total income, minus your expenses, equals zero.

Zero-based budgeting: What it is and how it can help you hit your money goals →

Saving

Tired of overspending? Want to cut expenses without giving up your favorite things? Here are a variety of creative ways to save money on everything from food to getting married.

31 Creative Ways To Save Money from Forbes ADVISOR →

Word of the week

60/40 Budget

Richard Jenkins, financial journalist and author of A Simpler Way to Save: the 60% Solution advocates: 60% of your income goes to fixed expenses: - Housing - Utilities - Groceries - Transportation 10% to retirement savings 10% to long-term savings 10% to short-term savings 10% “fun money” for activities, trips, or other infrequent splurges

How to Make A Budget: The 60% Solution Explained →

Saving

8 Money-Saving Tips, According to Wirecutter’s Expert Deal Hunters:

  1. Track prices
  2. Be persistent
  3. Search for coupon codes
  4. Maximize credit card perks
  5. Sign up for shopping newsletters
  6. Ditch rarely used memberships and subscription services
  7. Keep track of where your money is going
  8. Invoke the power of price-matching policies
Every day, the Wirecutter Deals team scours the internet for legit discounts on Wirecutter’s expert-recommended picks →

Budgeting

How to succeed at budgeting - A guide to 4 budget planning methods:

  1. 60% solution – keep essential expenses around 60 per cent to avoid overspending.
  2. Zero-sum budgeting – subtract expenses from your pay, and you should end up with zero.
  3. Reverse budgeting – put the focus on savings (you pay yourself first).
  4. The 50/30/20 rule – probably one of the most popular budget methods.
The secret to successful budget planning is finding the right method that works for you →

Serious Stuff

5 Easy Ways to Take Control of Your Personal Finances by Kiara Taylor of Ascend

  1. Budget, budget, budget
  2. Create an emergency fund
  3. Be honest with yourself
  4. Ask for help
  5. Track your progress
Don’t let your finances stress you out to the point of inaction, take back control by following these steps →

Budgeting

7 Budgeting Tips to Help You Save More Money from American Express

  1. Know Your Income and Expenses
  2. Tracking Expenses Is Worth the Effort
  3. Pay Yourself First
  4. Look for Small Expenditures that Add Up
  5. For Bigger Expenses, Think Big Picture
  6. Track How You’re Doing, and Adjust
  7. Accentuate the Positive
Learn more from American Express about planning for a better financial life →

Budgeting

What is the 50/15/5 rule for saving?

The key takeaways to this simple plan are as follows: 

  1. Consider allocating no more than 50% of take-home pay to essential expenses.

  2. Try to save 15% of pretax income (including employer contributions) for retirement.

  3. Save for the unexpected by keeping 5% of take-home pay in short-term savings for unplanned expenses.

  4. You'll have 30% of your take-home pay left over for discretionary spending. That might include shopping, dining out or entertainment.

Marianne Hayes of Experian explains the 50/15/5 rule for saving →

Serious stuff

Author Tammy Lally encourages us to break free of "money shame" and shows us how to stop equating our bank accounts with our self-worth.

TED.com - Let's get honest about our money problems →

Budgeting

10 Budgeting Tips to Increase Your Money Management Skills, from Rachel Dalrymple

  1. Identify Your Purpose
  2. Write Down Income and Expenses
  3. Follow the 50/30/20 Rule
  4. Practice Zero-Based Budgeting
  5. Plan for the Unexpected
  6. Develop Habits That Support Your Budget
  7. Utilize Budgeting Tools
  8. Evaluate and Adjust Regularly
  9. Keep It Attainable
  10. Run Your Household Like a Business
Leaders.com on details the 10 steps for a brighter future →

Serious Stuff

50/30/20

The 50/30/20 rule is a suggested budgeting guideline that advises allocating:

  • 50% of your income to necessities (like rent, groceries, and utilities)
  • 30% to discretionary spending (like hobbies, entertainment, and travel)
  • 20% to savings
Khan Academy on Budgeting and the 50/30/20 rule →

Word of the week

Overdraft

An overdraft occurs when you do not have enough money in your bank account to cover a payment or withdrawal. These transactions may include: - Debit purchases - Bill payments and pre-authorized debits - Cheques - Withdrawals - Transfers between bank accounts

Learn more about getting overdraft protection →

Saving

Investing against climate change - Climate change is a growing concern for many young Canadians, with some questioning where they should live, what they should be saving for and how they should invest.

Saving Podcast: Stress Test by columnist Rob Carrick - How climate anxiety is shaping small and large financial decisions →

Did you know?

The word ‘budget’ derives from the French word bougette, which means leather bag. The bag contained the papers setting out France's revenue, expenditure and tax.

Start your personal bougette today →

Budgeting

You made it to university and you get to decide which courses to take, which clubs to join and what to eat for dinner. Also: how much money to spend

9 budgeting tips for university students →

Serious Stuff

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) issued "grocery rebate" payments to eligible Canadians on July 5th.

You could receive a maximum payment of up to:

If you are single

  • $234 (no children)
  • $387 (with 1 child)
  • $467 (with 2 children)
  • $548 (with 3 children)
  • $628 (with 4 children)

If you are married or have a common-law partner

  • $306 (no children)
  • $387 (with 1 child)
  • $467 (with 2 children)
  • $548 (with 3 children)
  • $628 (with 4 children)
Learn more about eligibility requirements directly from the CRA →

Word of the week

Non-Essential Expenses

These are expenses that are not necessary. Another way to identify these expenses is to determine if they are 'wants' rather than 'needs'. Non-essential expenses might consist of: - Coffee - Entertainment - Subscription services (Netflix, Disney+, etc.) - Meal delivery services (Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc.) These are unlike rent, mortgage, and food which are 'needs' or expenses that must be met.

Follow every dollar - Track and analyze your non-essential expenses →

Word of the week

Emergency Fund

This is money that's set aside as a financial safety net. Depending on how much you have saved, an emergency fund could cover long-term expenses if you lose your job or with short-term unexpected events.

Start tracking your emergency fund today →

Budgeting

Attending university is the first time that many Canadian students get to practice real-life budgeting.

Best budgeting tips for university students in Canada →

Budgeting

What to consider before you start a budget: - Think about your financial goals - Identify your short-term and long-term goals - Make saving for those goals part of your budget

Take these simple steps before you make your budget →

Budgeting

You know a lot more about budgeting than you probably think. Even if you’ve never done any kind of household budgeting at all, you almost certainly already have had significant experience with it.

How To Make A Budget: 5 Time-Tested Approaches →

Budgeting

While you would be forgiven for being nose-deep in your books, it’s time to take a minute to reflect on how you’re managing your money. Do you have a budget? Or are you spending on the go?

21 money-saving tips and tricks for students →

Budgeting

You know a lot more about budgeting than you probably think. Even if you’ve never done any kind of household budgeting at all, you almost certainly already have had significant experience with it.

How To Make A Budget: 5 Time-Tested Approaches →

Serious stuff

SMART financial goals help you identify exactly what you want and how you plan to achieve it. SMART goals are: - Specific - Measurable - Achievable - Relevant - Time-Based

Start setting SMART goals and track your progress over time →

Budgeting

Making a budget can help you balance your income with your savings and expenses. It guides your spending to help you reach your financial goals.

Why make a budget →

Infographic of the week

Mapped: How Global Housing Prices Have Changed Since 2010

Houses fulfill a rare mix of necessity, utility, sentimentality, and for many, also act as a primary investment to build wealth. And it’s that last angle, combined with increasing demand in many countries, that is driving housing prices skyward.

Mapped: How Global Housing Prices Have Changed Since 2010 See how Canada measures up →

Did you know?

According to Canada's Food Price Report for 2023, a family of four will spend $16,288.41 on food this year ($1,357.37 a month) —that's up $1,065.60 from 2022.

Learn about how to start monitoring your food spending with Neontra →

← Curating the web to find the most interesting and helpful information about your money.