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12 Months to a Better Financial Foundation — Step 2: Budgeting

Establish a monthly budget and use it as a tool to accomplish your financial goals for this year. To get started, tally up all your essential and discretionary expenses, and compare that with your income. Online budgeting systems can be a great tool, or you can simply use your last 3 months of financial statements to establish your income and spending patterns. However you do it, ensure that your expenses do not exceed your income, and that the budget is something you can live with.

Items to include in your budget:

  • Income: Consider your regular salary plus any expected tax returns, bonuses, or commissions.
  • Essential expenses:
    • Utilities and regular monthly bills like rent, insurance, school tuition, or childcare
    • Loan payments (such as credit cards, vehicle loans, home loans, student loans, etc.) (If you have a high amount of debt or variable rate credit cards or loans with rates that are increasing rapidly, GE Credit Union may be able to help you consolidate your debt at a lower rate. Consider making an appointment with a member service representative to see what options are available to reduce your monthly payments.)
    • Food and gas
    • Medical/dental
  • Discretionary expenses: Plan for holiday or gift spending, entertainment, vacation, or travel.
  • Savings: Include emergency savings, retirement, education, and/or special purpose accounts.

Digital budgeting apps:

If you have a GE Credit Union checking account and use online or mobile banking, you have access to Money Management which can help you know your finances, track your budget, and watch your spending. To access Money Management, login to Online Banking, select the "Manage Money" button and then "Money Management," and follow the prompts. Learn more about Money Management here.

If you don’t use Money Management, here are some other online apps that can help you track your spending and budget:

If you need assistance working out your budget, visit your local branch or call 800-992-8472 to speak with a member service representative who can work with you on your specific financial situation.

Up next month: Start saving!