Budgeting isn't always easy, but there are some tools to help keep you on track if 2018 is your year to save.
Courteney Jacobazzi shows us there's more than one way to spend less and save more.
J.P Polites is a Mercer medical student who says that 2017 was not a year full of sound financial decisions, which led him to his resolution for 2018.
"My New Year’s resolution was to budget much, much better because last year was a rough year in that department," Polites said.
It started with his first purchase: a BMW
"I love this car. No regrets on this car," Polites said.
That led him to his next expense: his dog, Thea.
Her care costs threw a wrench, or a bone rather, in his wheel.
Still, he spent more.
"I got a new T.V. even though I already have another one that works just fine," Polites said, "While I was there, of course, they sold me on the surround sound that came with it.”
All his purchases now cost him an extra $400-500 a month, according to Polites.
That’s money he could have saved and now Polites is trying to ‘unbreak’ his bank using an online application called Mint.
"You can set your own budget," Polites said. He’s trying his best to budget. Keyword: trying.
"For food and dining, I originally budgeted $400 for that and then it kept going over, so I raised that to $600," Polites said.
Mint keeps Polites on track, but financial advisor Sherri Goss says it's not the method, but the month that matters when it comes to budgeting.
"The best thing you can possibly do is track everything you spend for 30 days and then evaluate it," Goss said.
Goss says evaluate then save, even if it means starting small, because in this case, less is not more.
Small is a relative term.
Goss says even starting with $50 a paycheck can add up. She says to evaluate your financial situation, and create a savings starting point.
For example, if you start with saving $50 a paycheck and you get paid weekly, the first week, you save $50.
Keep it up for a month: $200. A year: $2,400. 10 years: $24,000. Of course, you can always save more.
"The biggest thing is to save as much as you can, because you cannot save too much money," Goss said.
That money can come as fast as it goes if you don't set a goal.
We also searched some of the most popular online budgeting apps.
According to TheBalance.com, a website designed by financial professionals to offer advice on bettering yourself financially, here are the top 5:
1. https://www.youneedabudget.com/ : Online and mobile options available. Costs about $50 a year.
2. https://www.mvelopes.com/ : Mvelopes offers a mobile app, and a desktop app. The simplest version is free, but more advanced versions of the app come with a cost.
3. https://www.quicken.com/ : This requires buying software, which can run anywhere from $40- $120
4. https://www.mint.com/ : This app is completely free for users
5. https://countabout.com/?_ga=2.133093582.1114555632.1517152368-1486928437.1517152368 :
Count About has two options: basic and premium. Basic costs $10 a year, premium $40 a year.
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