Published on October 23rd, 2020 | by Sunit Nandi0
Tech-First Ways To Get Your Budget in Order, Fast
If you want to organize your finances and improve your money habits, the best way to start is by getting a full understanding of your current financial situation. For many people, that can be a challenge. With multiple credit cards, automatic bill payments, subscriptions, and multiple jobs or sources of income, figuring out how much money is flowing in and out of your household can be a complicated task.
Especially if you have multiple sources of income, it’s often much easier to keep track of your budget with smart software and tech tools that can help you keep track of your budget. Read on for ideas you can use to start making sense of your money.
Keeping Track of All Your Income
Having two jobs or a main job and a side hustle is more common than you probably think. In a 2019 survey by Bankrate, researchers found that 43% of Americans who are currently employed have a second job, side hustle, or some other kind of supplementary income. While a side hustle is a great way to keep your bank account healthy, it can add some extra complexity for tax season. As a result, it’s critical to keep an eye on how much miscellaneous income you earn each pay period, as well as where you earn it.
Budget management software like You Need a Budget or Mint can automatically keep track of deposits and categorize them so you can differentiate between various sources of income. When you need to request tax forms, you’ll be ready with pay stubs and receipts. If you’re not already using your bank’s online services, start! You can double-check your budget software with online deposit statements. Most banks allow you to access your digital statements for the past year instantly, which makes gathering your documents much easier than an old-school paper and filing cabinet approach.
Automating Your Personal Budget
Managing expenditures is the other half of building a successful budget. Just as you record and categorize each source of income, you should keep track of all your purchases to figure out where your money is going. If you’re like many people, you use credit cards, subscriptions, and automatic payments to take care of recurring expenses and purchases you need to make before payday, so you’ll want to look for budget software that accommodates this type of spending and lets you know when you’re getting close to your spending limit for the month.
Mint is a popular budgeting tool for this approach, since it integrates smoothly with a number of banks and credit card providers, but there are plenty of options designed to work for every style of spending and financial goals.
Getting More From Your Bank
Dated advice that praises the value of cash-only budgeting misses a major point in favor of credit cards: rewards. The best credit card rewards programs offer cash back, frequent flyer miles, savings, and other incentives. As long as you don’t spend more money than you earn—which should guide your financial choices no matter how you spend money—reward cards are a great way to make the most of your finances. As a bonus, most of them plug into budgeting apps, so there’s no need to comb over your account statements to figure out what you bought last month. All your purchases will appear in the “expenditures” column of your budget in real time.
One more way to get more out of your money? Your bank account. If you’re locked into a traditional low-interest checking account, earmark some time to investigate other options. Many banks are now offering mobile-first banking experiences that make it easy to keep track of your money, and smaller online banks often offer better interest rates than their traditional counterparts. Several online banks even come with cash-back debit cards that can help you rack up even more rewards for spending what you normally would.
Taking stock of your finances can be a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding the right tools to keep track of the way you spend and earn can go a long way towards helping you achieve your money goals sooner.