By 2022, the average household will owe more than $84,000 in debt, and if current trends continue, that figure will increase nearly 4% annually. Luckily, there are ways to ensure you’re not one of those households, such as setting a reasonable budget for your finances. If you’re unsure where to start, here are the critical pieces you should focus on when creating your budget for 2022.
What’s a budget calendar?
A budget calendar takes your monthly budget and plots it on a calendar. Budget calendars are great ways to keep track of important dates for bills and ensure your expenses are always paid on time.
To create a budget calendar, you can use any type of calendar that works for you. Whether you feel better using a digital calendar that’s on your phone and always accessible or prefer a paper calendar that makes it easy to tick off days, there are no set rules for how your budget calendar has to look.
To set up your calendar, simply make a list of recurring, one-off, and seasonal expenses and chart their payment dates on your 2022 calendar. Check it regularly by setting a timer or alarm on your phone and then create automatic payments for every expense to ensure it’s paid off before the due date.
The best budget priorities to make for 2022
Your outstanding debt
It might be a little late to get out of debt in 2021, but make it a goal not to add any more debt to your credit score in 2022. To do this, you’ll need to create an actionable plan for how you’ll change your spending habits and reduce your debt load now. Many people have had success using the debt snowball method to pay off their old credit card and loan debt. Whichever method you choose, commit to having 2022 be the last year you have a credit card or loan payment on your budget calendar.
Your regular expenses
When setting up your budget calendar, take some time to think about all the expenses you’ll need to cover in 2022. Go through your past bank or credit card statements to look for costs you might’ve forgotten about, like one-off or yearly fees.
If you don’t already have an emergency savings account, 2022 is the year to start it. Emergency savings should be at least six months’ worth of expenses and need to be difficult, but not impossible, to access. The goal is to have a safety net if something goes wrong, but never to use it for impulse spending or see it as extra money.
Retirement or other big goals
Your budget should also include a regular interval where money is put towards long-term savings goals like retirement, buying a home, starting a family, etc. You can set up weekly deposits that come out the day after your paycheck hits or once a month, whatever works best. Write down the day these come out on your calendar and ensure it stays a priority. The sooner you start intentionally working towards your goals, the more you’ll benefit from compound interest and be able to achieve them faster.
The bottom line
It’s never too early to start planning for the upcoming year’s finances. Making a budget is a great way to ensure you stay on track throughout the year. It’s also a great way to ensure you don’t get into overspending, leading to debt. Use this guide as a way to create your 2022 budget calendar and to ensure you stay on track with your spending.