It’s been a helluva year for just about everyone. You could be forgiven for ditching old budgeting habits when life was less predictable. Maybe you even saved money early in the pandemic by going to fewer events and you’re still reaping the benefits.
As things get closer to normal, it’s the perfect time to start an annual budget for 2022. Unlike a monthly budget, an annual one gives folks a bigger picture of what their money situation looks like. You don’t need to track where every dime will go. It’s an opportunity to set intentions for things that need to get done next year, as well as those longer-term fantasy goals – with enough time to prepare for both.
Refresh Your Budget for a Post-Pandemic New Year
Many Americans are feeling optimistic about the economic recovery. Some are preparing to engage in more of the activities they’ve missed out on, such as shopping, going to movies, eating out with friends, enrolling your kids in classes, or taking a few of your own. As masking rules continue to ease up, these events will once again be commonplace – and so will the price of entry.
What might a post-pandemic year look like to you? A return to normal may bring up small but surprising changes to your finances, like a postponed wedding that’s been rescheduled. Remote work saved workers about $2,000 per person in six months alone. Try to determine what will stay the same next year and what is likely to change that could either save or cost you money.
Save Money Down the Line
Have you ever taken a glimpse at your internet search history, only to be surprised by how much time you’ve spent googling celebrity gossip or mystery illnesses? Daily spending habits can be a little like that. We tend to dole out cash in small amounts without tracking what’s left. And only by taking a step back and looking at the larger picture do we have an accurate idea of where our hard-earned dollars have gone.
Tracking one’s expenses is the best way to understand how to spend your money more wisely. Let’s say your goal is to visit out-of-state friends next summer. Maybe you could save $20 a week by making your lunches instead of eating fast food. From January to June, that would add up to $480 in savings – enough for a plane ticket! Are there any items you want to spend less on next year?
Prepare for Next Year’s Bigger Expenditures
There may not be any vacation plans on the horizon. But when you start to budget beyond next month, not only do you have a more realistic idea of how much is coming in – and going out –you can also estimate how much to set aside monthly in 2022. Think bigger and you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish.
You never know when you’ll need money for an emergency. And if there’s a pricier item you’ve had your eye on, like a bigger apartment or a car, you’ll get there sooner by preparing now. You can also set more reasonable debt payoff goals. By starting now, you’re giving yourself time to examine your money habits and adjust them accordingly.
It’s Not as Hard as it Seems – Honestly
Unlike resolutions that are quickly forgotten, taking that first step now leaves you time to put thought into how you will accomplish next year’s spending goals. If you haven’t done so already, set aside an hour to figure out precisely how much is coming in, and whether that amount is likely to change next year. Then estimate your set monthly expenses and subtract those from your total.
Getting a head start also allows you to strategize your savings. You’ll feel great in 2022 when you plan for expenses in advance, save on fees, and take advantage of early-bird discounts.
Stay on Top of Your Finance with CFSC
There’s still time to determine your holiday expenses and what, if anything, will be leftover. Let the many convenient financial services at Community Financial Service Center (CFSC) locations throughout the country take some of the load off your back. Here are three ideas for getting your ducks in order:
- Enroll in electronic bill pay
- Get a pre-paid phone service.
- Use prepaid debit cards to reign in your kids’ after-school spending.
Taking advantage of what’s out there will allow you to put a bit more thought into your goals and plans for the coming year. CFSC is a third-generation, family-owned check cashing company with locations nationwide. To learn more about our diverse financial services, visit our website today!