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Budgeting Strategies for a Debt-Free Year

Budgeting Strategies for a Debt-Free Year


Coins stacked up in different piles symbolizing the act of budgeting

Budget Your Year
Budgeting is a hard skill to learn. With the pressure to consume it’s difficult to know where to cut back. The new year is a perfect time to reassess your financial habits and set ambitious yet achievable financial goals for a debt-free future. In this blog, we'll dive into three practical and effective budgeting strategies that can help you achieve a debt-free year. Whether you're looking to pay off existing debts, save for significant milestones, or simply gain better control of your finances these strategies are designed to guide you towards success.

Strategy 1: 50/30/20 Budget Rule
The ‘50/30/20 budget’ is a great way to budget if you are struggling to find a balance between your needs, wants, and savings costs. This strategy recommends budgeting 50% of your money towards needs, 30% towards wants, and 20% towards savings. Needs include housing, groceries, bills, health insurance, car payments, and gas/transportation. Wants include costs connected to travel, entertainment, eating out, and shopping. Savings include emergency funds, retirement accounts, debt payments, and investing. This budget strategy is incredibly effective for long-term yearly savings but can be less effective for monthly budgets. 

Strategy 2: Pay Yourself First Budget
The ‘pay yourself first budget’ prioritizes your savings before doing anything else with your paycheck. It’s easy to forget or choose not to deposit money from your paycheck into your savings. With this budgeting strategy, you automatically take a specific amount out of your paycheck and invest it in your savings accounts or emergency funds. If you commit to this strategy, future you will be happy that you invested in your future! If you run into an unforeseen expense, emergency funds are a great way to escape debt and give yourself a financial safety net. Further down the line, once you start thinking about retirement, this budget strategy might even allow you to retire early! Overall, this budget strategy is a great short-term and long-term approach for a debt-free future.

Strategy 3: Envelope Budgeting
If you work a job where you get paid mainly in cash, the ‘envelope budgeting strategy’ might be right for you. This budgeting strategy categorizes different expenses and separates them by envelopes. Once you’re out of the money in an envelope, you can’t spend any more money in that category for the month. The great thing about this strategy is that it can easily be personalized. Most people will have these basic envelope categories: rent, gas, groceries, eating out, shopping, and savings—but you can add more specific financial saving goals. For example, if you’re trying to save up for a car you can make an envelope specifically for your car payments. This budgeting strategy is specifically effective for variable expenses like food and shopping since the amounts can vary based on habits but can also be used as a savings strategy. Try it out!

Choosing the Right Budgeting Strategy 
Finding the right budgeting strategy that supports your financial goals is the key to budgeting effectively. Your spending habits, monthly income, and goals all affect which strategy will work best for you. To find the right budgeting strategy for you, answer these questions:

  1.    Spending Habits
          A.  I spend a lot of extra money in cash every month.
          B.  I don’t spend a lot of extra money every month.
          C.  I spend a lot of extra money in credit/debit every month.
  2.    Monthly Income
          A.  I get paid mainly in cash.
          B.  I get paid a yearly salary.
          C.  I get paid a mix of pay checks and cash.
  3.    Financial Goals
          A.  I want to practice general budgeting.
          B.  I want to prioritize my savings.
          C.  I want to balance out my spending and saving.

If you chose mainly A You should try Envelope Budgeting.
If you chose mainly B  You should try the Pay Yourself First Budget.
If you chose mainly C You should try the 50/30/20 Budget Rule.


Budgeting Made Easy
Empowering yourself with effective budgeting strategies is an essential step towards a debt-free and financially secure future. By implementing these practical strategies, you'll not only regain control of your finances but also pave the way for long-term financial success. At 1st Community Credit Union, we are here to support you on your journey to financial well-being. Look into our savings accounts and other budgeting tools or contact one of our financial experts to help you make a budget plan for a debt-free future.

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