Let’s talk about the “B” word: BUDGETING. For most of us, it’s one of life’s necessary evils.

But, if done correctly, the work you put in could save you time and energy (and a lot less stress!) down the line.  2019 is your year! Use our tips below to get your budget in order before the ball drops.

Take a step back. Before you put pen to paper, take a moment to reflect. Why do you need a budget? What are your financial goals? What are your biggest money challenges?

Whatever epiphanys your self-reflection uncovers, remember: you’re not alone. Many people struggle with finances. Don’t get discouraged; use your findings to create a budget that works best for you.

Pro Tip: Create a financial vision board. You may find it relaxing to create and it may keep you motivated throughout the year.

Don’t Go it Alone. There’s no need to. There are a plethora of resources available to help get your budget under control.

Apps like YNAB (You Need a Budget), Mint, and EveryDollar are especially helpful for those who have a hard time with budgeting. They provide templates, reminders, tips and tricks, etc, to help you reach your financial goals.

If you prefer to create your budget sans-technology, try using a planner specifically to manage your money.

Pay Yourself. It’s called savings; get some, you need it! It may seem counterproductive to save if you have debt, but it is advisable.

How much you save is up to you and depends on your income versus debt. Many financial advisors recommend the 50-30-20 rule: 20% of your income should go towards savings; 30% to your wants; and 50% to your needs.

Use Self-Control. A good budget only works if you work it. So, create a plan that you can realistically stick to throughout the month. You know what you like; so, set yourself up for success, and budget for it.

If you struggle with control, take it out of your hands. Once your budget is set, use automatic drafts as much as possible. Some creditors will even offer a reduce interest rate if you select automated payments.

Pro Tip: One of the biggest budget blowers is food. Give thought each month to meal planning and go to the grocery store (and/or a night out) with a budget in mind.

Start planning your budget now to ring in the New Year right! Your future self will thank you later.