Taking patients’ vitals can guide ways to improve their health and well-being. Think of your budget as your financial vitals. It gives you the same benefit, especially when it comes to your money.
Do you wonder where your money goes each month? Do you ever feel like you’re stretching to make ends meet or that you don’t have enough left over for activities you enjoy? Creating a budget can help you meet your immediate needs, including ways to treat yourself after a long shift, while planning for the future.
You’re in control
You may think of budgeting as a time-consuming process. In reality, the time you take to create a budget helps you see your expenses clearly so you can spend your money wisely. While there are many options for building a budget, they all follow common principles.
See what you spend
Gather 6-12 months of bank statements, receipts and other financial records, and divide your expenses into “necessary” or “nice to have.” Don’t be daunted. There are apps available that can make this simple.
- Necessary expenses are monthly costs such as housing, utilities, food and education.
- Nice-to-have expenses are optional and may include things like meal delivery and cable and streaming services.
Add up the necessary expenses and subtract that total from your monthly income. The balance can be spent at your discretion—but be sure to balance spending on short-term rewards with saving for your future financial well-being.
Identify what is important to you
Deciding how to spend or save your money is empowering. Maybe you want to ensure your family’s security if something were to happen to you, or you hope to recharge by traveling to exciting places. Perhaps you want to turn a hobby into a second career. Understanding what brings you satisfaction will help prioritize your finances so you can work toward realizing those goals.
Manage today’s spending for a better tomorrow
Even though retirement may seem far off, saving just a little over time can add up. Maybe you can allocate some of your nice-to-have income to retirement savings. Just remember: Any amount you can save today will help you be better prepared for tomorrow.
Here to help
A budget is not a one-and-done resource. It’s a good idea to periodically review your expenses, income and goals, then modify your budget as your needs change. A TIAA financial consultant can help you think through your goals and create a budget. To get started, schedule a meeting with a TIAA financial consultant virtually or by phone at 800-732-8353.