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Sometimes it seems as though there is no end in sight when it comes to rising costs of living and growing inflation percentages. Rather than stress out about dwindling savings and increased credit card usage, however, savvy consumers can implement planning and budgeting strategies to relieve their wallets from current economic pressures.
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Take advantage of these strategies now and enjoy a bit of financial peace of mind.
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First, Make Sure You Have a Budget
One of the most basic pieces of advice for those struggling during financially stressful times is to budget. But do you actually have a budget? Consumer finance expert Tanya Peterson at Freedom Financial Network said not everyone does.
Before you make any money moves, your first one should be to create a budget. While budgets should be based around short- and long-term goals, Peterson said if you are putting one together right now, it can make sense to focus on the shorter term. Determine where your, or your family’s, vulnerabilities may be such as prioritizing preemptive maintenance needs on an older car.
Once you have a budget, review it frequently especially if it has a short-term focus. Peterson said this may mean looking at budgeted amounts versus actual expenditures every week or every two weeks.
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This is the question Emily Irwin — managing director, advice and planning, at Wells Fargo’s Wealth & Investment Management — wants consumers to ask themselves as they reexamine their budgets.
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Irwin uses the example of using this as an opportunity to learn to negotiate with discretionary providers. Think cellphone providers, cable and streaming services, gyms and more. If these companies are offering any negotiable promotions for new customers, reach out and learn more.
Try the 80/20 Budgeting Approach
Lauren Anastasio, director of financial advice at Stash, knows budgeting can quickly become overwhelming and complex. If you need help staying on track, Anastasio recommends trying out the 80/20 approach. This suggests saving 20% of your income and living off of the rest.
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