How to Make a Better Budget

Budgeting Together

Having a budget is essential in order to better manage your money and reach your financial goals, such as paying off debt or saving to buy a home. A budget can help you set spending limits and feel more in control of your money. So, we’ll be going over how to create your own personal budget.

Budgeting First Step: Track Your Income and Expenses

The first step of budgeting is finding out your net monthly income. To calculate how much money you will be taking home, you will need to deduct taxes, insurance costs, and business expenses from your monthly salary. This will leave you with an exact amount that you will be receiving at the end of each month, known as your net monthly income.

No matter how much you earn, it is still possible to end up with no money if you don’t know how to spend it properly. So, the next step is the figure out how to allocate that amount by tracking your expenses and seeing exactly where your money is going. Start by dividing your expenses into two categories, fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses are recurring monthly payments such as rent and phone bills which typically remain the same each month. Variable expenses tend to vary based on consumption, such as groceries, gas, entertainment, and eating out.

Step 2: Find Savings in Your Budget (Yes, You Can)

To determine areas where you can save more money, review some of your credit card and bank statements from the past few months. If your net income is greater than your total expenses, then you can start putting aside the extra money for your retirement or emergency fund. However, if your expenses exceed your net income, then you must look for ways to cut down on expenses as soon as possible. This involves going over your variable expenses and identifying unnecessary expenses such as subscriptions that you no longer need or eating out too often. Variable expenses are typically easier to cut down on in order to stick to a strict budget., but you may even need to look to adjust your fixed expenses in case you are still going over your budget.

Step 3: Make Plans for Savings and Paying Down Debt

While budgeting differs depending on each person’s situation, the 50/30/20 budget is a popular choice that works in most circumstances. Under this strategy, your net income will be split 50% for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings or paying off debt. It is absolutely critical that you commit to paying down debt and then setting aside savings. The entire point of budgeting is to help you generate “future-forward” momentum in your financial life. The only way to do that is to free yourself from debt that may be choking your ability to save for the future. The next step? Save for the future.

This is why budgeting is key. Looking at the reality of the numbers that shape your life allows you to get clear about what is happening in your financial life. Think about it this way: what are your big life goals? Retiring? Traveling? Being financially secure and independent? You can’t do any of those things if you find yourself having to shovel part of your money each month into a credit-card debt hole. So make a plan to get out of that hole, today. (Consider debt consolidation loans as an easy option: you can pay off all your cards and pay a single monthly bill that charges you less interest than your cards.)

Budgeting Is Never Actually “Done” — And That’s Good

Also, your initial budget isn’t set in stone, and it must be adjusted regularly as your financial situation changes. When you get out of debt, you revise your budget to set aside an emergency fund. When the emergency fund is complete — 3 to 6 months’ living expenses — then you can start saving for the good stuff: retirement, investing, more. Keep making plans and keep revising your budget — and build yourself the stable financial future you deserve.

White Mountain Partners and Debt Consolidation

read white mountain partners reviews

Credit cards are a part of daily life: we use them as an easy way to buy groceries, gas, and other regular household items, and plan to pay the bill in full every month. But life happens: a medical emergency, a car breaks down, you need a new air conditioner, one thing after another. And suddenly you don’t want to even open your credit card bills. Now you’re wondering: just how much debt is too much? And maybe you are reading Clay Advisors reviews to decide if they can help you. Let’s start with the first question:

How Much Credit Card Debt Is Too Much?

There are a few simple rules of thumb that let you know if you are carrying too much credit card debt. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you paying only minimum payments on your credit cards each month?
  • Do you find yourself always worrying a little bit about the debt you have?
  • Is your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio greater than 35% — meaning the percentage of your income that goes to paying existing debts is higher than 35%? To figure out your DTI ratio, take the $$ you spend monthly paying debts, and divide by your monthly gross income (before taxes and benefits, etc.).
  • Do you pay some of your bills late or skip payments because you don’t have enough money to pay them?
  • Is your credit utilization over 30%. Credit utilization refers to the percentage of your available credit you are using, so if you have $10,000 credit, and are carrying balances of $3,000, you are using 30% of your credit.
  • More than half of the credit cards you own are maxed out.
  • You don’t know how much you owe in total.

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, then now is the time for you to make an actionable plan to reduce your burdensome credit card debt. Find your way back to the freedom of a debt-free life.

Make a Plan to Become Debt-Free with Clay Advisors

Feel like you have no idea where to even start with getting a handle on your credit card debt? Then it is a good time to reach out for some kind, patient expert advice from people who know credit card debt and how to get out from under it: the financial consultants at Clay Advisors. They can talk to you about debt consolidation and explain how rolling all your debts into a single payment can make it easier to attack your problem.

Can I Trust White Mountain Partners?

If you have been to the White Mountain Partners website, maybe you have read the reviews of customers who were in circumstances a bit like yours. White Mountain Partners reviews are helpful, but sometimes other people’s words aren’t enough. Here’s a different perspective: let’s talk about what exactly White Mountain Partners will do for you and decide if those are services that would help you.

  • Assess Your Financial Situation. White Mountain Partners can help you assess your situation by walking you through whether you are carrying “too much debt.” A typical evaluation will assess your debt-to-income ratio and your total monthly payments for the debt you are carrying. After evaluating your debt, they can offer real solutions to put you on the path to financial freedom. 
  • Explain How Debt Consolidation Works. White Mountain Partners is one of the best debt consolidation companies out there. A financial consultant can explain to you in one simple call how consolidating debt balances into a single payment can help put you on the road to paying off your obligations in full.
  • Make the Call With No Risk to Your Credit Score. Speaking to an advisor at White Mountain does not impact your credit score, so the call is a free, no-risk step you can take to try to get control of your financial life.

What Is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation means rolling all your collective debt balances into a single debt — usually a loan, but sometimes a debt settlement program — so that you are paying a single bill instead of many bills. Taking out a debt consolidation loan won’t reduce your overall balance right away, but sometimes it’s possible to make that single monthly payment less than what you are laying out right now, so you can get a little breathing room. 

What Are Pros and Cons of Debt Consolidation? 

Whether a debt consolidation loan is for you depends on your specific financial and personal circumstances. That’s why it’s important to talk to a consultant who can help you understand your position. Here are the general pros and cons of a debt consolidation loan. The consultants at White Mountain Partners are at the ready to talk to you and learn more about what you need. 

Pros

  • You can reduce multiple payments down to a single payment
  • You can potentially lower your interest rate
  • Clear a path to debt reduction and elimination
  • Can help improve your credit score after a time

Cons

  • You may not qualify for the lowest rates 
  • Extended loan terms may cost more in the long run
  • There are sometimes origination fees for the loan

How Can White Mountain Partners Help Me?

Carrying a significant amount of debt is the number-one financial problem any household needs to address. Having too much debt makes it difficult to borrow money, penalizes you with high interest rates and erodes your credit.

And so making a clear plan to resolve your debt is a the key first step to financial freedom. And will remove a serious blockade to potential future wealth. Learn more about debt consolidation and if it’s right for you, by filling out the White Mountain Partners application to see how they can help you today.