Check More Than Your Checking
- Comments off
You’re out of milk. Again. These kids just keep downing the milk! But, you know yourself. If you go to the store, that means a deal or two will catch your eye which will then lead you down the path of one very full cart and one very drained bank account.
But, your kids love milk.
So, in you go.
Forty-five minutes pass and you now have a backseat full of food and an overdraft charge on your checking account.
You checked your account before going into the grocery. The $150 was there an hour ago. So, what happened?
Ah…you forgot to factor in the rent check being cashed today and the internet bill that autopays every month around this time. Does any of this sound familiar?
Here’s the thing, many people only look at their checking account balance to determine if they can purchase. So, you’re not alone. But, let’s make today the day you leave that club, OK?
- Rely on your budget, not your account alone to tell you what you can afford. If you budget, you will know what money is available and what isn’t. This helps you ensure there’s enough for the necessities first and then you’ll know what’s left over for extras. It’s a step that allows you to make the best decisions with your expendable income.
- But, we recommend going a step further. Don’t just create a budget, but start tracking your spending against your budget. If you know you have $400 for groceries, but then you never track how much you actually spend on groceries every month, how do you know you’re staying within your budget? You might discover some changes need to be made to your spending habits once you begin tracking your spending.
- Evaluate and balance regularly. Use your checking account’s statement to balance with your spending record. Take note of times when you overspend. Try to make balancing a weekly, if not daily habit. It makes budgeting monthly much easier and less frustrating. Monthly, it’s important to look at your data, your money and ask a few questions:
- Is there anything I’m spending too much money on?
- Does my budget need to be adjusted?
- Is my overspending this month a one-month mishap or is it becoming a trend?
- What financial goals have I set? Am I on track to accomplishing them? Is anything threatening my progress?
Next time you’re out of milk, you’ll know you still have $30 left in your grocery budget for the month. You can get the milk, but you may need to say “no” to the extras you’re tempted to throw in the cart. You’ll leave with the milk, no overdraft (so no overdraft fee), and money left for another gallon of milk, plus some cleaning supplies when the kids spill a glass or two on your fairly new red couch…
One of the great things about our online banking platform is that it has a few different tools that help you in the budgeting process:
- Download and print your statements whenever you need them.
- Create tags for your main budget items so they’re easily searchable within a set amount of time. Examples of tags: groceries, rent, insurance, gas, car maintenance, etc.) Want to see how much you spent on gas for the month of April? Tag and search.
Learn more about our online/mobile banking options and bank where you’re in charge at Signet.