It’s that time of the year. Summer has come to an end and fall has finally arrived. Fall comes with many things I love: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, colorful leaves, crisp mornings, and playoff baseball, to name a few. It also comes with something I consider a necessary evil: budget season. Although I have a love of spreadsheets and I appreciated the accounting classes I took in college, I will be the first to admit that budgeting is not my biggest strength.
This being said, I’ve found that as long as I abide by the tips below, budgeting doesn’t have to be scary.
Review on a regular basis. Whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, you should schedule time to review your finances on a regular basis so that you can stay on top of payments and reconcile any errors before too much time has passed. It’s much easier to monitor in real-time, rather than trying to play catch up. I’m lucky in that the U.S. Chamber has a great program that allows me to access our finances on a weekly and monthly basis. It even sends out an email with a direct link every Monday morning.
Document, document, document. If I don’t write something down, chances are I’ll forget it. This is something that definitely applies to budgeting. I try to make it a point to document my reasoning throughout the budgeting process, which includes major changes, new accounts, and future notes for consideration.
Work in stages. This can be a very overwhelming process, particularly for someone who is not numbers savvy. Instead of trying to do everything at one time, breaking it down into chunks certainly helps to make the process more manageable. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time and be sure to set aside plenty of time to complete the budget process.
What other tips do you think might be helpful for a non-finance minded person?