This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through the links.
Addressing the lack of financial skills among millennials.
There’s no doubt that the millennials are known for being the most diversified and highly-educated age group. However, they seem to be clueless when it comes to basic budgeting skills and financial knowledge.
It is concerning because being skilled in budgeting is an essential part of financial planning.
So today, you will learn all the budgeting skills for adults that every millennial should know and possess.
What Are Budgeting Skills
Budgeting skills are referred to as the ability to make smart decisions in managing your finances. It involves knowing where and how to allocate your money in a way that you do not spend beyond what you make.
Why are budgeting skills important?
The main goal of budgeting is to keep your total expenses equal to or less than your take-home pay. Therefore, budgeting skills are important in keeping you from living beyond your means.
Also, when you have the skill to balance expenses and income, you will ensure that you have the resources to achieve your major goals in life. It can be paying off debt, saving for a house, or saving for retirement.
How To Assess Budgeting Skills
To assess your budgeting skills, you have to take a closer look at your finances.
1) Know your net worth
Calculate your net worth and observe which way it is trending. You can use a free app like Personal Capital to make it easier for you.
2) Create A Monthly Budget
Your monthly budget will show you how much money is coming in and how much are you spending. Check out this guide on how to create a monthly budget.
3) Know Your Debt To Income Ratio
Calculate your debt to income ratio to see where you stand. To do this, you simply add up all your debts and divide them by your gross monthly income. The lower the result, the better.
4) Emergency Fund
Assess your savings if you have enough for a starter or fully-funded emergency fund. Learn more about the emergency fund.
5) Know Your Credit Score
Check your credit score to know where you currently stand. You can use Credit Karma for free. It will provide your credit scores from two credit bureaus.
When you figure out all your numbers, you will be able to assess if you are doing a great job in your budgeting.
If not, then it’s time to do something about it.
How To Improve Budgeting Skills
As I’ve mentioned before, budgeting is an integral part of financial planning. Therefore, if you have a good and solid budgeting skill, you’ll be on your way to sound financial stability.
Here are some of the ways to help you improve your budgeting skills.
1) Set Realistic Goals
Set realistic goals and write them down. When you write goals down, you’re more likely to work on them.
2) Keep Track Of Your Income And Expenses
Keeping track of your income and expenses improves your awareness of how much money you really have.
Make an effort to keep your expenses equal or lower than your income.
3) Reduce Your Expenses
If you are finding that your expenses exceeds your take home pay, double check your expenses.
Are all your expenses really necessary? Can you get rid of some of them or fond cheaper alternatives?
Use services like Billcutterz or Billshark to help you negotiate your bills.
4) Pay Off Your Debts
If you have outstanding debts like credit cards, personal loans, or student loans, make it a priority to pay them off.
If you have multiple credit card debts, use Tally to help you consolidate them all into one payment.
5) Increase Your Savings
It’s very important that you should have at least a starter emergency fund. If you don’t, make it a priority to start one.
Learn how to create an emergency fund here.
And if you already have a starter emergency fund, work on fully funding it. Aim for a 3-6 month worth of expenses.
6) Increase Your Income
If you want to meet your goals sooner, consider amping your income through side hustles.
Here are some of the best side hustles that you can do.
7) Review Your Numbers Regularly
After working hard on your budgeting skills, make it a habit to re-evaluate regularly.
Check what’s working and what’s not, then try to improve some more. The outcome of your efforts will reflect on your credit score and net worth.
Budgeting Skills Every Millennial Should Have
Now let’s discuss some of the basic budgeting skills you should develop to have strong budgeting skills
1) Enhanced Self-Awareness
You can improve your self-awareness in terms of money by calculating your income. It would be relatively easy if you have a fixed income every month.
If it’s not, you can calculate the average. Also, you just need to know where you are spending most of your dollars.
This will help you understand the flow of your money and how you can control it.
2) Ability To Stay Organized
After you’ve created your budget, you have to be able to organize everything that comes with it. That includes tracking your expenses and categorizing them into fixed and variable expenses.
Fixed Essential Expenses
The fixed expenses should include the expenditures that you pay on regular basis/intervals. This includes your car lease, house mortgage, utility bills, subscriptions, broadband, insurance, council tax, etc.
Variable Essential Expenses
While the variable expenses should include food and groceries, personal care, clothes, travel/commuting expenses, etc.
You also need to set up accounts for your savings. Multiple savings accounts helps you keep track of what you are saving for.
Personal Capital and Capital Savings let you open multiple savings accounts under one account.
Staying organized will help you avoid fees for missed payments or lost paperwork.
To be financially successful, you need to practice self-discipline. You’ve created your monthly budget, now you just have to stick with it.
You’ll have temptations along the way but if you will stay disciplined, you can deal with these temptations easily.
Be consistent in reviewing your monthly budget. Make it a habit to do it the same day each month.
If you stay consistent on the things that make your budget work, then you’ll likely succeed.
5) Be Confident
Confidence is one of the personal attributes needed to make money decisions. If you’re not confident, it will be tough to make financial decisions.
Try to work on improving your confidence. Seek help if you need to.
6) Stay Focused
Focus is the key to any endeavor. Focusing on your financial goals will reflect on how you perform your tasks.
Therefore, keep your eye on the prize to eliminate distractions.
7) See Money As A Tool
One of the best budgeting skills is thinking of money as a tool. Money itself doesn’t have value, however, the things you can afford with money have value.
But don’t think of money as the ultimate goal because you will never be satisfied.
8) Ability To Stay Strict Yet Flexible
If at some point you end up with a bad month in your budgeting, don’t punish yourself. Simply reassess what went wrong and strive to do better next month.
Feeling guilty or punishing yourself will just make you crazy and lead to more stress.
9) Ability To Use Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is important in making savvy money decisions. You have to be able to decide if a certain expense is a necessity or not.
You also need critical thinking when dealing with investments so as not to lose money.
10) Able To Set A Contingency Plan
No one can deny the importance of a contingency plan when it comes to budgeting skills. This it the job of your emergency fund.
Emergency funds should remain untouched for uncertain times, for example, unemployment, unexpected medical bills, a car breakdown, etc.
Final Thoughts On Budgeting Skills
Budgeting skills might not be that popular among millennials but it is definitely important to have. If you have good budgeting skills, you will be able to protect your family from future financial disasters.
Are you ready to improve your budgeting skills?
Budget Related Articles:
- 18 Budgeting Tips For Beginners
- 21 Best Budget Planners For Successful Budgeting
- Challenges OF Budgeting
- Best Budgeting Apps For Married Couples
- How To Meal Plan On A Budget