There's an art to finances. Yes, art in finances does exist. It's called allocation!
Allocation entails that whatever budget you have set for the new year, that is the budget you are going to stick to as a new daily routine. Budget allocation gives you a fresh perspective on what you're spending, what you can cut back on, and how much money you actually do have. The great things about allocation is the following:
1. You don't have to wait for the bank to tell you how much you have left in your checking account
2. You are in control of your finances
3. You have a choice of what expenses to prioritize
4. You have the freedom to set aside extra finances for vacationing, buying that car, etc.
Just like any art, the art of allocation takes daily practice and adjustment. For example, Take 100% as your base. Then, break down 100% into different sections:
1. 30% goes into investing
2. 20% goes into buying groceries and gas
3. 30% goes into paying bills and mortgage/rent
4. 15% goes into vacation money
5. 5% goes into whatever I wanted to buy on Amazon
Now, this is just an example of spreading your budget out. To keep track of how much you are spending/investing, you can do the manual route and use envelopes to put part of your paycheck money into these compartments. Or, you can go digital (if you pay your bills online) and keep track of what you spent. Mint by Intuit is a great app to utilize for budget allocation. It alerts you what you spent over the past several days, it keeps track of all of your accounts (including the ones associated with your bank), and it gives you suggestions on what to do to pay down debts. You can download Mint on your smartphone for free today (for iOS and Android devices only).
No matter what method you use for budget allocation, the key here is to stick to it like glue! Don't go over; yet feel free to go under your budget in your expenses (not investments). Remember: it takes around 21 days to form a habit, whether it be good or bad. Let the art of allocation be an excellent habit this 2019 for you and your family!