Finding that path is so key because it empowers you to take steps to turn your financial dreams into reality. "Budgeting is simply telling your money what to do as you earn it," says Bola Sokunbi, certified financial education instructor and founder of Clever Girl Finance. "It's being the CEO of your finances and giving each dollar a job." Sometimes, that "job" is to prepare for the unexpected like, ahem, a pandemic. In these cases, healthy budgeting allows you to overspend in the face of emergencies without compromising your livelihood or financial health in the process, she adds.
So, how do you do it? Jen Hemphill, accredited financial counselor, says creating a budget requires you to keep three things in mind:
- Make a note of the money coming in.
- Keep track of where the money is going.
- Know your bottom line.
By following these three steps, you'll be better prepared to allocate your money after expenses. "A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they have a budget, but they really have a checklist of the bills they pay—and that's not a true budget," says Hemphill.
So, to get more intel about budgeting in general and tips for effective follow-through, explore the many budgeting resources that exist. Below, Sokunbi and Hemphill recommend a number of their favorite budgeting resources, including books, podcasts, and apps, to help you stick with your plans and maintain financial health.
1. Clever Girl Finance, by Bola Sokunbi, $22
In this book, you'll read the stories of women who have achieved financial independence. Learn to budget and manage your money so you can build wealth.
Shop now: Clever Girl Finance, by Bola Sokunbi, $22
2. Broke Millennial, by Erin Lowry, $14
Reading this will help you develop financial confidence and independence. Lowry goes beyond the basics to help you budget and tackle tricky money challenges.
Shop now: Broke Millennial, by Erin Lowry, $14
3. One Page Financial Plan, by Carl Richards, $17
This book urges you to create a simple and effective financial plan to help you identify your values and goals. If you're someone who often feels overwhelmed by financial matters, this is the budgeting resource for you.
Shop now: One Page Financial Plan, by Carl Richards, $17
4. Her Money Matters, by Jen Hemphill, $16
Looking to move the needle on your financial portfolio upward? Check out this book, and learn to budget the heck out of your finances using Hemphill's three-part approach.
Shop now: Her Money Matters, by Jen Hemphill, $16
5. Budgeting 101, by Michele Cagan, $16
Are you a beginner to budgeting? Then learn to create and stick to a budget with this comprehensive and easy-to-understand guide. By the end of the book, you'll have a pro-like grasp on budgeting.
Shop now: Budgeting 101, by Michele Cagan, $16
Listen to real people and their stories on how they budgeted their money to pay off debt and boost their savings. Hosted by Whitney Hansen, a personal finance coach and entrepreneur, you can learn the tools to become financially independent, once and for all.
After Sarah Li-Cain, accredited financial counselor, got into debt, she wanted to create a space to discuss the complexities of money and its impact on well-being. That's when Beyond That Dollar was born. In this podcast, you can expect to learn about the nooks and crannies of challenging money decisions from Li-Cain and special guests.
Want to learn how to eliminate debt and budget your money? Then you're going to want to put on your headphones and press play on Journey To Launch. After college, Jamila Souffrant saved to buy her first real estate property by age 22, and on her podcast, she shares the trials and tribulations of her story that helped her save up $169,000 in two years.
Torabi brings stories of top business minds, authors, and influencers right to your phone. You can learn about guests' financial journeys and how they learned to master their money.
Apps aren't for everyone, but they can be useful budgeting resources for those who are interested in tracking expenses electronically. When choosing an app, Hemphill and Sokunbi recommend keeping in mind the features that work best for you. Consider the layout of the app, whether it connects with your bank accounts, and if you enjoy using it.
With Mint's customizable goals feature, you can start saving for your dream house, car, or retirement. The app even allows you to track your bills so you never miss a due date.
On average, budgeters saved $600 in their first two months using the platform and more than $6,000 in their first year. Over time, observe your growth and progress using YNAB's goal-tracking feature.
Create a customizable budget for you, track your spending, and save money with the EveryDollar budgeting method.
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