They say most people ditch their New Year’s resolutions by February. If saving for a new car is one of your New Year’s resolutions, hopefully, you have made a monthly budget to help you get there. If it’s not a true resolution but you just need help making a budget, then these tips are can help you nail down your finances and get you in the car of your dreams as soon as possible!
- Put it down on paper – It is important for you to know each dollar that comes in and goes out. Take a close look at your bank statement and list all your incomes and expenses, starting with your income. If you work an hourly job that can vary in total take-home pay, err on the side of caution and use your lowest monthly take-home pay for the last 6 months. Then list out all your fixed expenses like rent/mortgage, utilities, loan payments, etc. Don’t forget to include non-fixed expenses like gas, groceries, etc. Subtract your expenses from your income. This amount is what you have left and can be part of your savings.
- Know the difference between a NEED and a WANT - As you study what comes in and what goes out, pay close attention to expenses that are luxuries (dining out, entertainment, beauty) versus those that are necessities (housing, groceries, medications). You can eliminate some of your wants and add that money to your savings as well. It is here that you can find ways to cut back and save. If you spend too much on fast food, too many pay-per-view movies, the thermostat set too high, make some adjustments in your style of living to save the most you can.
- Allow an occasional splurge – Once you have cut back on the unnecessary spending, allow yourself an occasional treat once a month or so. Maybe you would enjoy a mani-pedi or a nice evening out at your favorite restaurant. Consider it a gift for all your hard work, but don’t go overboard. Denying yourself totally can be a recipe for disaster and you could end up falling off the wagon into big-time expenditures.
- Set a goal and stick to it – If a new car is your goal, formulate how much you need as a down payment and what your monthly payments will be. Once you have gone through several months on your budget and consistently maintained a savings deposit, a new car will seem more like a reality than a dream. It will be a lot of hard work but it can pay off if you don’t cheat. You will have unforeseen expenses, like a flat tire or a hike in utilities, but don’t let it sway you from your goal.
After you feel comfortable with your savings and your budget, and you are ready to start looking for that car, please consider me. I would be honored to help put you in the car you have worked so hard to get!