You all read about the mighty emergency fund that you need to save in your budget. The reason behind an emergency fund is to cope with problems that can come up, that was not the plan.
The objects of an emergency fund is not to prepare your next trip to the Bahamas because you’re tired of winter, that’s not an emergency. We are talking about a big problem, like you or your partner losing their job, your house is suddenly flooded, your roof is leaking, your car suddenly gives up and you need to buy a new one. You may own insurance for some of those problems but you may not be covered or the reimbursement can take a very long time.
It’s important to differentiate an emergency fund from normal repair fund. If you own a house or a car, there are regular repairs that need to be done, again they are not considered as an emergency. They should be budgeted in a separate category.
How much you need in your emergency fund depends on your situation. The expert consider having a four to six-month threshold. That means, if the total of your expenses for the year is 30 000$, your fund should contain around 12 000$ to 15 000$. You can’t budget that amount only in the first years, this fund needs to be built up in the first couple of years of your adult life. When you have kids, have a home or own a car you need to think about building your emergency fund.
There are recurrent questions I see all the time on different personal finance blog site, how should I allocate my expenses in percentage of my income? Where should I allocate my expenses? What are the usual categories I should allocate my budget to?
In a blog post publish in 2014 on the Budget Express site (In French), Dominique Lamy presented a list of the most considerable budgeted expenses in relation to your revenue. In 2016, those percentages have not changed (see the chart below).
The percentage can vary from one budget to another. There are factors that can influence those variations like your age group, where you live, your revenue, the style of life you are looking for, etc.
10 Actions You Need to Perform Before Deploying Your Personal Finance Software Program for The First Time
Before deploying any personal finance or budget software program, you need to prepare.
There is nothing more frustrating than being in front of your computer and not really knowing what to do. And improvising won’t get you anywhere.
The best thing to do is to prepare in advance. Here are 10 actions you need to perform to be ready and do your budget in less than 20 minutes.
1 – List the Bank Accounts You Use in Your Daily Lives
- What is the balance of those accounts
- Do I use a debit card
- Do I transfer money from one account to another
- Do these accounts generate interests, etc.
2 – Identify Your Credit Cards
- What are the credit cards balance
- Have I set prepayment on those cards
- When do I pay those cards
- What are your credit limits
- What is my interest rate, etc.
3 – Identify Your Sources of Revenues
- List all your revenue sources
- Fixed revenues : paycheque
- Variable sources : bonuses, expense reimbursements, rentals, dividends, garage sales, taxes, etc.
- What is the frequency of those revenues: weekly, every two weeks, twice a month, etc.
- In which account are those revenues deposited?
- Consider all possible changes that can occur, like wage increases, overtime work, etc.
1. You Need to Know What Your Expenses Are
The most important reason for making a budget is to identify exactly where your money goes. Knowing how much you spend on groceries, clothes and even insurance can help you understand why there never is as much money at the end of the month as you thought you should have.
When you know how much you spend on each item, figuring out where money is wasted and keeping spending under control are a lot simpler.
Plan for Short-term Needs
We all should have long-term objectives (see point #3). But before you plan for those, you must take care of subsistence expenses, like housing, food and transportation. That’s why short-term planning is so important : you need to plan for everyday projects that makes life better for you and your family, such as repairs on the house or sending kids to a better school.
Plan Your Long-term Projects
We all have dreams: a trip abroad, a better car, early retirement. This is the fun part of making a budget. It’s essential to identify projects and budget to achieve those goals. To do so, placing your money at the right place and letting it work for you is essential (see point #4). Read more
I decided to add an older blog post because it’s still an important issue for Budget Express, I received lots of questions about this feature. It’s one of the feature that differentiate Budget Express from other personal finance software. Budget Express will never ask you to connect directly to your bank account within the software, we prefer you get the information from your bank to the software manually, it’s a security question.
You can check your transactions in Budget Express by comparing them with those of your bank statements and make appropriate corrections manually. However, there is a much faster way to achieve this: the bank reconciliation.
This Budget Express option allows you to import a transaction file provided by your bank (usually generated from the online bank services). Thanks to this file, you will be able to associate your actual operations to those that were planned in a few clicks. Read more