GREENSBORO, NC -- We are halfway through the year, what does your budget look like? A Gallop poll in June 2013 shows only 30% of Americans even use a budget. So if you have one, even if it is blown, you're at least trying!
Finances Expert Matt Logan of Matt Logan, Inc. has a mid-year budget breakdown for you.
Review Your Goals.
Look over your goals that you set. Before assessing how you have done with those goals, review them all. Are they still applicable? Were they reasonable? If you remember our piece from June 6th was Being Reasonable With Your Money And Your Money Goals. Were you reasonable? Have you had significant changes this year that you did not foresee such as a new job or having to install a new HVAC system? Have your goals changed? Does paying off the credit cards now take a back seat to new medical bills?
Look At Your Budget Projections.
Review your budget from the beginning of the year. You could find that you may have been a little ambitious about your budget when you got started. You could also find that you left too much for you to use and you can now look to cut a bit more (this is often not the case). Many people find that the overall budget was fine, but the unexpected expenses like car taxes, work on the house, a trip or something of that nature really threw the budget out of whack.
Give Yourself A Grade
Many people do not even think about grades once they are done with school, but this is an easy way to look at it. Give yourself a grade. If you stayed within your budget, you got an "A." If you happened to go a little over, such as up to 10% above your budget, you got a "B," if you went 10% to 20% beyond your budget you got a "C," and so on. This way, you can give yourself some sort of accountability. You can even go so far as to grade yourself on a monthly or quarterly basis if you so desire. This may help you hone in on what went wrong or right.
Adjust Your Budget.
If January was the first time you have set a budget for yourself, you can expect to have some rookie errors. Don't be hard on yourself. A gallop poll in June of 2013 showed that only 30% of Americans even use a budget, so you are in the top 30% for just trying. Now that you have 6 months under your belt, you have probably found that there were some adjustments that needed to be made. Maybe you realized that your golf habit or your dry cleaning is a lot more expensive than you had thought. You could also find that you are like me and your grocery bill is outrageous. Don't throw out your original budget, but try to make adjustments to make it better match your family. This is a work in progress thing and will always need to be adjusted.
Now Forget About The First Half Of The Year.
The best athletes always have the ability to forget the interception, bad game or horrible putt and go back out and play again. No, you are not on a national stage playing football but forgetting about the first six months will be helpful. Don't get frustrated and give up, just work on what you can. What happened in the past is already done, so focus on improving your budget for the final six months of the year. If your first part of the year was particularly frustrating, you may want to only focus on one budget goal for the remaining six months.
Maybe you have already achieved your goals of paying off debt and building up cash. This is a super human feat for 6 months, so kudos to you. If you did this by only eating Ramen Noodles for the past 6 months, invest in your health and begin eating some normal meals. Your financial future becomes unimportant if your health fails. Now is time to look at where to begin saving. Find the information about your retirement plan through work. Are you getting the full match? If so, do you qualify to start a Roth IRA for you or your spouse? Is it time to start those college savings accounts?
Hang in there and keep up the good work with your budgeting. We will continue to provide you with timely financial tips so that you can keep your financial house in order.
You can also go to my website www.mattloganinc.com for more information on financial topics you may find helpful.
Matt Logan is a Representative with Matt Logan Inc and Summit Brokerage and may be reached at www.mattloganinc.com, 336-808-0126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matt Logan Inc is an independent firm with Securities offered through Summit Brokerage Services, Inc., Member FIRNA, SIPC. Advisory services offered through Summit Financial Group Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.