Many of us never learned financial skills in school or at home. Not understanding your finances can make the prospect of making it to the next paycheck, paying off a debt, or making a significant purchase like a home or car feel overwhelming.
St. Ambrose provides support and resources to those looking to improve their finances, and here, St. Ambrose Senior Housing Counselor Grace Parker shares how you can get started – one step at a time.
Step one: Sit down and look at your spending.
Start with one or two months of your bank statements and categorize your spending. You can do this using an Excel spreadsheet (click for a fillable budget sheet), Google sheet or an app like Mint or EveryDollar.
Start with the expenses you pay every month; rent, utilities, car payment and insurance. Then look into the other big items you know you spend money on; groceries, gas, phone, eating out, subscriptions like Netflix, and the internet. See where you may be spending more than you realized.
This is a good time to review and eliminate recurring charges that you may have forgotten about, like that HBO Max or Ancestry.com subscription.
Step two: Build your budget. This will essentially be your spending plan. List your net income (what you receive every month in your paycheck after taxes are removed) and list your expenses. If you know you have regular expenses like manicures, a daily cup of coffee or a shopping habit, you don’t have to eliminate these things. Just be sure to build them into your budget and set limits for them.
Step three: Use an excel spreadsheet or app to track your spending. Stick with your plan as best you can! We’re all human, and unexpected things come up. Make a reminder on your calendar so it’s hard to forget.
St. Ambrose Housing Counselors are here to help with non-judgmental support and accountability. They can support you in all of the steps listed above and can help you build a plan to reach your financial goals. When you meet with a counselor they can help you:
- Review your financial documents
- Identify goals like improving your credit score, making a savings plan, or making a purchase like a car or home
- Create an action plan with you so your goal is less overwhelming, and is broken into manageable, monthly steps
- Make a plan for what do once you’ve reached your goal
Interested in getting started or learning more? Reach out today at email@example.com or 410-366-8550 ext 249 to set up an in-person or virtual appointment with a housing counselor.