Happy Black Friday! With all the shopping happening today, I figure it’s a good time to talk money. It’s easy to think more about now that the deals are upon us, as well as the buckets of money that seem to pour out of our bank accounts when purchasing Christmas presents for friends, loved ones, and well, ourselves. But it’s important to keep an eye on your money the rest of the year too! Figuring out a budget can be tedious, but it’s sticking to it that’s the really difficult part. So where do you start?
First off, bank accounts. For the longest time I had the standard two bank accounts – one checking and one saving. It worked out fine until I was trying to mentally track a budget for several things in one account. My solution? Opening two more accounts (one additional checking and savings). It might seem strange to have 4 accounts but here’s the breakdown of what I use it for:
- Checking #1 – “Fun” money (where any extra money sits)
- Checking #2 – Home money (for rent and utilities)
- Savings #1 – Emergency fund (for things that might pop up unexpectedly – VERY important)
- Savings #2 – Vacation fund (because we all need a little getaway)
Breaking my funds down in these categories ensure that I know exactly how much I have in my account for specific things (i.e. bills, vacation, emergencies). This has been SO life changing for me in terms of my finances!
|Vacationing in Napa, thanks to my vacation savings|
Rather than looking at my total pay each month, I budget by my bi-weekly paychecks and utilize my company’s direct deposit to put an allocated amount directly into each account, that way I don’t have to worry about manually moving money around. Because chances are, I’ll give myself more fun and vacation money than the necessary home and emergency funds. This is my breakdown:
- Divide my rent and average cable + electric bills by 2 (since there are typically 2 paydays in a month); this amount goes directly into my home money/checking #2
- Determine what 20% of your monthly take home pay is and send it directly to the emergency fund/savings #1
- After credit card/outstanding monthly bills are paid, throw a little into the vacation fund (varies, but usually 10-15%)
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What do you do to ensure financial peace of mind throughout the year and/or during the holidays?
Disclosure: I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.