SMART MONEY IN 2020
Think Spending Plan!
You’ve probably heard it many times: You need a budget to take control of your finances. However, the phrase “make a budget” often instills fear in people. If feels restrictive and who wants to be restricted from using their own money?
GreenPath, our partner for online financial guidance, suggests a novel approach for personal money management: Don’t have a spending budget. Have spending plan.
A budget can feel like a diet, where you’re only allowed to have certain things in order to succeed. A spending plan, however, revolves around determining how you want to spend your money. While both a budget and a plan will guide your spending, a plan is about choice rather than that sense of deprivation you get when you try to budget.
The key to creating a spending plan is first figuring out what you value most in life. Maybe it’s the freedom to travel, spend more time with your family or retire when you’re 55. Whatever it is you strive to achieve, write it down in as much detail as possible.
Once you know what you want to achieve, take a closer look at your current financial situation and see if how you spend your money aligns with those values. Look at your bank and credit card statements and make a list of your expenditures. Then rank them (essentials, bills, savings, and non-essentials) based on how much you’re spending on each. This will show how you currently prioritize your spending. Does it align with your values?
For example, if you want to retire at the age of 55, saving money in an IRA will need to be a priority. If you’re saving only 5% of your income each month but spending 15% on non-essentials like entertainment, your spending isn’t aligning with your priorities.
Each time you make a purchase, ask if your money is going toward something that gets you closer to or further away from your goals. If the answer is further away, then don’t spend that money. Using a spending plan is a new way of thinking, but for those who dread budgeting, it may be the light at the end of the spending tunnel.
Visit GreenPath.com for an array of helpful articles, videos, online classes, and webinars. For personal help on achieving your financial goals, give us a call at 208-746-7233 or stop by your local branch and visit with a branch manager. Our focus is your future!