Aside from vows to lose weight, quit smoking and exercise regularly, you may also be hoping to get your finances under control in 2019, pay off debt or start an emergency fund. These are all honourable goals and certainly worth seeing through to the end, so what questions should you ask yourself before you get started?
Some of the above steps may seem too much like ‘adulting’ for where you are in your life right now, but all kinds of advice you’ll find on financial stability will state that it’s never too early to start thinking about your financial future.
How to start your 2019 budget
Bring out the calendar, open a spreadsheet and get stuck in.
You should have a fairly good idea of how well you stuck to your budget last year. Did you reach your goals or did you struggle to stick to your plans? Relooking at last year’s results will help you know whether you need to reduce your spending, cut debt or increase your income.
If you have any large changes that you can reasonably anticipate, like college fees or a new bond, incorporate it into your plans as early as possible — even if you don’t know how much it will cost you. Waiting until you know the exact amount may not leave you with enough time to save.
When you don't know how much you need, shift the expenses figure more toward the high side, and income toward the low side. This will provide a cushion in case things don’t go as planned. Plus, with costs constantly on the rise, it’s safe to assume you will be paying slightly more for things as the year progresses.
What are your absolute must-haves for 2019? Revise last year’s goals and set new ones according to your plans.
Once you have your guesstimations and goals in hand, as well as your projected expenses and income, then it’s time to change last year’s budget accordingly. Congratulations for being ahead of the game. The first step is already done!
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