Roger Cowen; Ceo; Cownen Tax Advisory /Financial Group
New survey released today…If you are living paycheck to paycheck, you’re not alone. A new study shows more than a quarter of Americans have NO emergency savings. Two-thirds have less than the recommended six months’ savings in the bank.
1. Create a budget
It all starts with a budget. You need a plan that takes into consideration your income and your expenses. There are 2 types of expenses- your fixed expenses, like your mortgage and car payment that are set every month. And your variable expenses, like groceries, gas, entertainment, which fluctuate from month to month. It helps to write it all down, and you can start with a budget worksheet, like the one on my website…
2. Track your spending
If you’re struggling with your budget, take a step back and track your spending to figure out where your money is going. Save your receipts, or if you have online checking, you may be able to download your transactions into a software program. Put your purchases into categories to see where you’re spending the most money. That will tell you where you need to cut down.
3. Cut your expenses
This is the hard part. Now you see where the money is leaking, you can start plugging the cracks. This might require some lifestyle changes, like giving up cable TV, gym memberships, cutting down on coffee runs and dinners out.
4. Increase your income
This may not always be possible, but there are ways to increase your income without getting a raise. If you typically get a tax refund, you might be able to change your tax withholding and get more money each month. Of course, that means you’ll get a smaller refund (if at all) next tax season. There might be opportunities for a part-time job, or making money with a hobby on the side.
5. Set goals
Ask yourself questions like when do you want to retire? How often do you want to travel? What about that dream house or your kids’ college education? It makes it easier to save for things when you can really picture them.
- What about dipping into your 401k? Is it worth it? Or better to not repair something for instance if the fee will outweigh the benefits?