Things They Didn’t Teach You on Plaza Sesamo: How to Budget
Money is a funny thing, and by funny, I mean, just the thought of it is stressful and makes me want to run and hide under my abuela’s San Marcos blanket.
Conversations around money make me feel uneasy, but it’s even worse if I allow money to take control of my life, instead of being the one in control of it.
This year I finally decided to take the deep dive and start a monthly budget. Have I stuck to it?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself, “If you save up this much money this month, then you can afford to get that one thing you’ve always wanted.” I start off strong for about a day, and then two weeks later I’m freaking out wondering why my debit card is getting declined at Target again.
I’ve had enough.
So when I heard about the opportunity to chat with a financial expert about different foolproof budgeting tips, I didn’t hesitate to reach out to financial expert Claudia Rivas.
Claudia has a way of talking about finances that feels like a warm hug or like you’re taking a stroll through Plaza Sesamo. Our conversation didn’t leave me feeling overwhelmed, it made me feel empowered.
After chatting with her, I was able to poke my head out from underneath the San Marcos blanket, get out of bed, and get started with some helpful apps and systems.
They’ve helped me stay somewhat on track and keep me from spending all of my money on mangonadas at La Michoacana.
I’m not lying.
I’m there at least once a week.
My quarantine resolution is to stick to my budget so that when this pandemic is a thing of the past, I’ll still be able to live financially free.
Here are some of the steps I learned, because honey, we all need help when it comes to money.
First off, before downloading any apps, you’ll want to calculate your monthly income after taxes and break it up into three sections:
- Fixed Expenses
- Variable Expenses
- Savings and/or Debt Repayment
Fixed expenses are your non-negotiables like rent, your mortgage payment, car payment, phone bill, car insurance, and any other payment whose value won’t change over time. Sorry ladies, nails don’t count here.
Variable expenses are things like utilities, personal care, clothing, groceries, gas, and more. These expenses are subject to change based on your usage and needs for each month. One month you might need to buy extra groceries for your suegra that’s visiting from out of town, another month a new haircut, because gentlemen, el man bun needs to go. Oh, and ladies, this is where your acrylics would go, don’t worry I didn’t forget you.
Once you’ve figured out these steps, you’ll break them up into three sections.
- 50% of your monthly income will go towards your fixed expenses
- 30% will go towards your variable expenses
- 10% – 20% percent of what’s leftover will go towards paying off the looming clouds of debt that remind you not to buy VIP Bad Bunny tickets again.
It sounds like a lot, right?
I promise it’s a lot easier than it sounds. So here’s a challenge. Go online and visit your bank account. Break down your expenses for this month and then walk away from your computer. Tomorrow you can sit down and figure out your budget. If you take it poco a poco, it won’t seem like such a big and impossible task.
Also, stay tuned to SUMA, we’ve got some applications coming soon that’ll help you figure this all out, so cojelo con take it easy, we got you.
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