Budget Check Up: Tax Time is the Right Time
Keeping on top of your budget
Gathering all the receipts and invoices gets to be a headache and a stack of numbers that no one wants to see.
Tax preparation may be the only time of year many households gather all their financial information in one place. That makes it the perfect time to take a critical look at how much money is coming in and where it’s all going, as scary as it can be. Tax preparation is the perfect place to start innovating the household budget by doing a comprehensive “Budget check-up.”
A Six Step Process
A thorough budget checkup involves six steps.
1. Creating Some Categories.
Start by dividing expenses into general categories. Some suggestions: home, auto, food, household, debt, clothes, pets, entertainment, and charity. Especially track savings and investments. (It also may be helpful to create subcategories) Housing, for example, can be divided into mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance.
2. Following the Money.
Go through all the receipts and statements gathered to prepare taxes and get a better understanding of where the money went the last year. The categorization makes this step significantly more bearable. Track everything. Be as specific as possible. Don’t forget to account for the cost of a latte on the way to work each day (this is sometimes the hardest one to keep an eye on).
3. Projecting Expenses Forward.
Knowing how much was spent per-budget-category can provide a useful starting point for projecting future expenses, and hopefully improving thereon. Go through each category. Are expenses likely to rise in the coming year? If so, by how much? Asking these types of questions are how to get at the basis of a budget for the coming year.
4. Determining Expected Income.
Evaluation of expected income is the next critical step to determining what needs to change.
5. Doing the Math.
It’s time for the moment of truth. Subtract projected expenses from expected income. If expenses exceed income, it may be necessary to consider. Prioritize categories and look to reduce those with the lowest importance until the budget is balanced. We at Harvest Investment Services would love to connect you with an advisor to help in this process.
6. Sticking to It.
If it’s not in the budget, don’t spend it. If it’s an emergency, make adjustments elsewhere.
Tax time can provide an excellent opportunity for the budgeting process. You have a chance to give your household budget a thorough checkup and cleanup. In taking control of your money, you will find that you are better equipped to accomplish financial goals and financial growth. Connect with an advisor today to expand this opportunity.
More Articles Like This One
The Farmers to Families Food Box program is simple in it’s name, but often needs a bit of explaining when it comes to the details. If you’re involved with the program already, or just want to know more before you do, these FAQs might give you answers you’re looking for. These specific questions are primarily related to questions we commonly faced. The USDA has a more comprehensive list on their website. If you have additional questions, please feel free to send them our way and we will do our best to get you appropriate info.
With a program like this there are many moving parts. It can be confusing as to what exactly is needed to make this program work. This page will give you three primary ideas that we could use your help with.
While many ministries and non-profits might want to serve as a Food Bank, the USDA has set up qualifications which must be met. This article will explore just what those qualifications are and help you determine if this is something you might be able to do.
Get Connected With Us