Best Budget Tips
The Bank Note’s savvy readers came through again with smart ways
to create a monthly budget. Thanks to everyone who emailed us. Ten of our
readers each received a $25 Nationwide Bank Visa® gift card
for these helpful tips.
Find next issue’s question at the bottom of this page.
List your monthly expenditures for the absolute necessities - car,
house, electricity, insurance. Then list discretionary costs, such as
entertainment, cable TV, eating out. Decide your NEEDS as opposed to your
- Cheryl B.
Pay attention to details. Start by writing down every dollar that you
spend for 2 weeks. Putting it in writing will make you more aware of what
- Jerry B.
Divide your expenses into groups. Then justify each group of expenses.
Do they reflect your values? Be sure to live a little and save a little.
If you save with a goal in mind, you will become a more aggressive saver.
Make provisions for charity giving, no matter how small.
- Rose N.
Be sure to include things that only happen once a year (like school
registration fees, membership dues, subscriptions) and things that occur
unexpectedly (like car maintenance). Go through your family calendar and
your checking account to help you remember. Save for these events
throughout the year, so they won't be a surprise.
- Tom S.
I get paid every two weeks, but when I created my budget I based it on
two paychecks per month. This means that I get two "extra" paychecks
every year. With those checks, I can pay down credit card debt, build an
emergency fund, fund a Roth IRA or make extra principal payments on a
- Kathryn K.
When I budget, I trade hours for dollars. I try to judge the value of
something I want to buy by how many hours it takes me to earn that money.
For example, if I make $10 an hour, I try to think of all the taxes that
come out of my check before I see any money, and then realize a $20
dinner out takes me roughly 3 hours to earn. That helps me maintain
motivation to stay within my means.
- Allen V.
Sit down every week or a designated time with your family or partner and
outline your budget as a team.
- Jack E.
I keep a spreadsheet of what I spend for fixed expenses (like the house
payment) and variable expenses (utilities, groceries, insurance). This
allows me to develop a household budget based on my seasonal patterns of
spending. It helps change the unexpected to expected. Once I have
identified when the infrequent recurring bills are due, I can create a
budget that allows for me to plan for these expenses in the month they
occur. This way I know that if I have extra available this month, I need
to set it aside for that larger bill coming in 3 months.
- Duane B.
Start by prioritizing. Determine your income for the month, and then
figure out how much you can afford for necessities like rent, utilities
and groceries. Don't forget to pay yourself by putting something into
savings each month. Next, include some rainy-day funds each month to
cover unexpected repairs, occasional gifts and clothing. Divide what is
left into entertainment and splurge items. The main idea is to stay
within your parameters for your budget.
- Dawn B.
First you have to be honest with yourself about what you spend money on.
Then, don’t forget all the incidentals, such as haircuts, prescriptions,
medical co-pays, pet supplies.
- Dorothea H.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your tips. We’ll select 10 ideas to be featured in our next issue, and the winners will get a $25 Nationwide Bank Visa® gift card!*
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*All submissions received by May 15, 2012, will be considered for inclusion in newsletter and on nationwidebank.com. We will contact winning entrants by email. This email will request that you reply with your current mailing address so we can properly mail you your $25 Nationwide Bank Visa gift card. Please allow 8-10 weeks from the time you provide a valid mailing address for receipt of gift card by mail. Tips may be edited for length.