Make a plan + stay on track.
Take Control of Your Finances
From one-on-one coaching to online resources to workshops, our budgeting tools are designed to offer the information you need to make wise choices, navigate debt the smart way and take control of your finances.
Explore Money Management a free tool right inside WebBanking and our Mobile App to see all your accounts across multiple institutions, analyze spending, track all expenses and find ways to save
Financial Pathways of the Piedmont is a local non-profit that’s provided financial counseling, education and programs for over 40 years
Debt is a vital tool for most Americans – read about how our specialists can help you use it wisely, pay it off faster and get closer to your vision of the good life
Budgeting is a process for tracking and planning the inflow and outflow of money each month. To be successful, you will need to simultaneously pay your bills, meet your debt obligations, and contribute to your saving goals. You can break the budgeting process down into three action steps
- Analyze your current situation (track your spending) and identify trends
- Ideally, look back at least 30 days to see where your money has gone
- Pull data from your account statements, year-end spending reports, or apps like Money Management
- Look for trends (like overspending on key days or on certain items) that signal opportunities for behavior change
- Determine your expense categories and monthly spending limits
- Cover the essentials (housing, food, transportation, insurance, etc.)
- Pay yourself first (allocating savings off the top rather than from leftovers)
- Determine how debt repayment factors into your budget (what are your interest rates, debt balances, and monthly payments?)
- Develop your plan and reassess it monthly, making tweaks as needed
- Realize that some short-term sacrifice may be necessary for long-term gain (could you seek a side gig to increase income or reduce spending?)
- Look at balancing your wants and needs, making tradeoffs as required (hold onto the items most important to you and let go of the rest)
- Schedule a “financial health” day each month to focus on your finances
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to budgeting. Your best budget strategy is the one that you can stick to long term. Here are a few suggestions to consider:
- Cash Budget (helps monitor spending)
- Weekly cash allotment to cover your variable expenses with 1 weekly ATM withdrawal (you determine the $ amount)
- Use envelope system (provides guardrails) for categorizing variable expenses (like groceries, gas, eating out, entertainment, etc.) where you have choices
- Zero Sum Budget (creates structure and focus)
- Net income minus fixed and variable expenses must net out at $0 each month
- Every dollar has a purpose and is spent/assigned to a category (no leftover $)
- 50/30/20 Budget (takes a balanced approach)
- 50% to needs, 30% to wants, 20% to savings and debt repayment
- If you come up short, you may need to reallocate funds from the “wants” category (temporary tradeoffs to avoid overspending)
- Goals-Based Budget (keeps financial goals top of mind)
- Allocate savings to different “buckets” (seasonal expenses, emergency fund, home, retirement, college, vacation, etc.)
- Set up separate accounts and automatic transfers for each bucket (leverage Allegacy’s Club Savings)
Once you make a commitment to budgeting, see it through with a comprehensive plan to achieve your financial goals
- Ask yourself some key questions before buying: Do I need it? Can I afford it? How long will it take to earn the money to pay for it?
- Build in some accountability from friends, family, roommates
- Take baby steps, breaking down each goal into achievable action steps
- Make it a habit by setting up automatic bill pay and account reminders in Mobile Banking
- Embrace delayed gratification by engaging in a spending fast
- Reassess your budget every quarter to ensure it still fits your needs
- Keep a positive attitude and know that nothing is permanent
- Be proactive with your financial health by building emergency savings to weather periods of uncertainty
- Explore Enrich to access interactive content on budgeting, credit and debt, managing cash flow, and more
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