August is officially Back to School season, and not just for the kids! This month we’re sending you back to the classroom to get fiscally fit. Weekly posts will explore the basics of financial planning and highlight featured online resources you can use anytime, anywhere. Stick to it and you’ll head into the holidays with the financial know-how to stay on track and stress free.
Lets get things started with everyone’s favorite topic: budgets. Check the links below for hand-picked articles and tools on building a basic budget and more importantly, how to track it.
- 60-Second Lesson: The “I hate to budget” Plan (Vanguard)
- 4 Steps of Budgeting Basics (TIAA-Cref)
- Budget Snapshot Interactive Tool (Fidelity)
- 32 Hacks for Sticking to Your Budget (LifeHacker)
- Living on a Budget: The Envelope System (Bank of America)
- The Best Way to Stick to a Budget (Wall Street Journal)
- Budget Tracking Tools (The Billfold, see also Budgeting Part 1)
Remember, the hardest part of budgeting is sticking to the plan you’ve built. Try out different tools and methods of tracking your spending suggested in these resources to find what works best for you. Everyone’s financial situation is different and some budgets will require stricter adherence than others, but if you’re new to the budgeting game, revisit it at least once a month to make sure what you’re spending is in line with what you’ve allocated.
Have experience with building, sticking to, or failing at basic budgeting? Join the conversation in the comments!
Next Week: Emergency Funds