"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
However, there are instances in life where people have failed despite taking time to plan.
One of such areas is the budgeting of personal finances.
This inability to keep to a budget happens because most personal finance budgets are not real "personal" and hence not workable. For busy nurse moms, taking time to draw an applicable personal budget and religiously following it can be the one thing that could put you on the path to financial independence.
Nurses may be superheroes without a cape, but with a salary of $60,000-120,000 per year, you need to be strategic in saving money for your children's college, paying off student loans, and investing to ensure a comfortable life after retirement. Let's take a look at how you can create a workable personal budget as a busy nurse.
Identify and list all your expenses
The first thing you would need to do is to identify and group all your expenses into two categories; fixed expenses such as regular rent or utility bills.
And under a second category—variable expenses like groceries, personal care items, fuel/public transportation costs, clothing, daycare, or babysitting, etc.
Fill out an expenses calendar.
Next, prepare a bill calendar for all your regular bills and paychecks. Enter due dates for all monthly bills or fixed expenses on the calendar. Enter your pay dates into the calendar as well. Remember, always use the worst-case scenario for your expected income.
This strategy allows you to know how much money will be going out and coming in monthly. Now, move to the other expense categories and assign dates you will have money available to cover them. Do well to include holiday and other event expenses. You may set aside a weekly or bi-monthly amount to groceries and buy them in bulk to save money. With a reasonable budget as a guide, you could buy only items on your shopping list and avoid impulse buying when you go out shopping.
As you make purchases, go onto your budget calendar and update it frequently, as it takes some time to get a perfect calendar.
Develop a debt payment plan
Create a debt payment plan and use a worksheet to track your progress. You can get out of debt faster if you apply all of your extra money to your debts, one debt at a time if your loan agreements allow for it.
A debt payment plan will help you save money on interests due to the larger payments. It could make a massive difference if you pay off debts with larger interest rates first.
Develop a savings plan
Develop a goal-oriented savings plan and use a worksheet or tracker to customize your action plan in saving money for the future. With a goal-oriented savings plan, you can save some cash for your short-term and long-term financial goals. Two significant examples of long-term goals that you need to include in your budget are savings for your retirement and your children's college.
On the other end, an emergency fund is an example of a fundamental short-term financial goal. These savings are not meant to be touched until that event happens, so do well to save towards these goals, and you could secure your peace of mind in the future.
Track your budget progress
Accessing your bank account activity or credit history is an excellent way to track your expenses to know where your money goes to help you build your budget calendar.
After all expenditures, savings, and debt payments have been made at the end of the month, use a net worth tracker to ensure your progress and make improvements.
Budgeting is a long-term commitment and may take some time to perfect. Hence do not be too bothered with having to make amendments during the first few months. There are several useful budgeting tools you can use to make budgeting easier for you.
Find a reliable one and do your best to stick to the budget. In no time, you would have saved a considerable amount of money and be on your path to financial freedom.
What tools do you use to budget?
Share in the comments below.