Day 1: GOBankingRates wants to help you Live Richer. For a month, we’ll be sharing daily tips for how you can do just that, with advice on budgeting, saving, investing, making the most of your career and managing debt — plus money advice for every phase of your life. Check back each day during our 31 Days of Living Richer to learn everything you need to know to set yourself up for financial success and live the richest life possible.
Creating and sticking to a budget is one of the golden rules of living richer. But if you’ve never budgeted before, it can be difficult to know how to best go about it. Fortunately, a number of top financial experts have weighed in on the topic — and here’s their best advice.
Rachel Cruze: Try a Zero-Based Budget
Personal finance expert and the author of “Know Yourself, Know Your Money,” Rachel Cruze knows that the word “budget” can be intimidating, but it really shouldn’t be.
“A budget is simply a plan for your money — and you need to have a plan for your money!” she said. “I used to think a budget limited my freedom when it came to my money, but it gives you freedom because it gives you permission to spend.”
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Cruze recommends a zero-based budget.
“This is where your income minus expenses equal zero,” she said. “You’re telling every single dollar where to go. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be intentional with every dollar we have coming in. A budget will also help you and your spouse get on the same page with your finances. It forces you to talk about how you’re spending your money, your financial goals and your dreams. Money is the tool that will help you achieve those dreams, and the budget is how you steer the ship. I love using the free budgeting app EveryDollar.”
Helpful: 101 Easy Ways To Save Money Daily
Erin Lowry: Experiment Until You Find the Best Budget for You
Maybe the zero-based budget isn’t best for you — and that’s OK. There are many ways to budget, so you should keep trying different ways to plan out your income, spending and saving until you find something you can stick with, said “Broke Millennial” author Erin Lowry.
“Keep exploring to find a budgeting system and a learning style that works for you,” she told BudgetBakers. “There are so many ways to learn about money these days and so many styles to money management, that something out there will suit you.”
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David Bach: Automate Everything
Once you’ve figured out your ideal budget, automate the proper distributions of your funds to make sure you actually stick with it.
“Automating your finances — sending your money automatically to investment accounts, savings accounts and creditors — allows you to build wealth effortlessly,” David Bach wrote in his book “The Automatic Millionaire.” “You’ll never forget a payment again — and you’ll never be tempted to skimp on savings because you won’t even see the money going directly from your paycheck to your savings accounts.”
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Andrew Lisa contributed to the reporting for this article.
Last updated: July 1, 2021