Get Your Green On

12 Steps 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 of 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, PSCCU may be able to help you. 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

There are many online and mobile budgeting apps you can use to set a budget and analyze your spending. Here are two we recommend:

Our monthly series on these topics will help you work toward your goals in 2023 but if you have specific questions or want advice sooner on how to achieve your goals, contact your local branch to schedule an appointment with a member service representative who can work with you on your specific financial situation.