A budget won't make you dinner or take out the trash. It can't program your DVR or download songs to your MP3 player. It will never do your laundry.
What a budget will do is help you keep your finances in shape and your spending under control. But your budget occasionally requires a little TLC to make sure it's working. By periodically reviewing your spending plan, you can make any changes that are needed to stay on track.
The Right Fit?
You probably chose specific categories, such as housing, car payments, utilities, etc., when you created your spending plan. Over time, these can change. You might pay off your car loan, for example, or buy life insurance coverage. A review will give you a chance to add new expenses and eliminate old ones.
The amount of money needed in each category can change, too. An increase or decrease in your auto insurance premiums or property taxes or other changes in your payments may provide good reasons to revise your budget to reflect the new amounts.
A Realistic Picture?
Knowing how much you actually spent on food, cable, cell phone, and other bills during the past year can help you adjust your budget. Review your checkbook register and the debit transactions on your banking statements to get an accurate picture of where your money went. Then, use this information to find places to save.
What About Income?
A pay increase, a bonus, or an income-tax refund may bring in money you didn't count on. Consider earmarking a portion of it for contributions to your investment and retirement accounts. If you've recently paid off a loan or credit card balance, think about adding the old monthly payment amount to your savings.
The Right Tool
Are you looking for a tool to help you create the perfect budget? CNBudget Central
is a powerful financial management tool, powered by Yodlee, that allows our online banking customers to aggregate all of their accounts to one location for budgeting and financial management convenience.
This tool allows the user to control their finances by tracking all of their checking, savings, credit card, loan, investment and rewards account balances, all in one place, even those from other financial institutions.