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Three fresh tips to apply to your budgeting

For many people, the thought of effectively budgeting their finances can induce feelings of anxiety or be overwhelming. Money can also bring feelings of shame, and some think that setting a budget means more restriction and less enjoyment of life.


If you need to approach budgeting with a fresher lens, and identify some helpful tools to simplify your life, read on!

  1. Strive for simplicity in your finances
    1. Budgeting your finances does not have to look like a giant spreadsheet with 30+ categories and tabs to manage. If you make budgeting unnecessarily complicated, you are less likely to practice consistency and more likely to approach your finances with anxiety. Two good rules of thumb are to categorize your finances into four categories: fixed costs, variable costs, savings/investments, and guilt-free spending (more on that below), and to identify a budgeting system or tool that is easy to use and helps you accurately track your expenses. Whether that’s a pencil and paper, or a budgeting app, it’s important that you can accurately identify where your money is going every month.

      Our no-cost Banzai platform offers a budgeting calculator and other tools to help you strategically manage your expenses. Whether you need help learning how to track your expenses, identify how much to save for an emergency fund, or how to effectively manage debt, Banzai is a user-friendly tool that can help you strengthen your financial confidence.


  2. Include a guilt-free spending category in your budget
    1. Attitudes towards spending money can vary person to person, but it’s common for people to feel that budgeting is solely a means of restriction. While it’s important to prioritize the essentials, it’s also important to realize that budgeting is not meant to merely restrict; it’s meant to help you identify the things that are most important to you and to direct your money accordingly. Factoring guilt-free spending into your budget can help you enjoy your money responsibly, spend more consciously and intentionally, and help you avoid impulse spending (where you will likely feel remorse or guilt afterwards). Such expenses can include trips to restaurants, movies, travel, coffee, or other forms of self-care.

      Of course, depending on your financial situation, the percentage of monthly income that you can allocate towards guilt-free spending will vary season to season. A good rule of thumb is to practice the 50/30/20 method- allocate 50% of your monthly income to your fixed costs and variable costs (housing, food, transportation, etc.), 30% towards guilt-free spending, and 20% towards savings and investments. The point is to pursue conscious spending, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor without cutting into funds for your essential expenses.


  3. When it comes to saving, make your money go further
    1. Rather than putting your allocated savings into a traditional savings account each month, put it instead into a high-rate savings account where you can earn returns and dividends. Make your money work smarter, not harder! Nusenda Credit Union offers a variety of options, from a Money Market Savings Account, to Share Certificates, and more!

Also – remember to take advantage of programs that put cash back in your pocket. Earn Your Return and Community Rewards from Nusenda Credit Union allow you to earn cash back, and The Power of Change allows you to round up your Nusenda Visa debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and use the change to boost your savings, pay down debt, or donate to your favorite cause!


At Nusenda Credit Union, we’re dedicated to improving our members’ financial well-being and supporting them through affordable products, friendly service, community involvement, and financial education. We'd love to find other ways to help you reach your financial goals. Stop by a branch or make an appointment to meet with us today.