Checking in on your budget in the middle of the year is a good idea to ensure you’re staying on track with your spending. You’ll get a clearer picture of where you’re at financially, and be able to make any adjustments from there. Here are some benefits of performing a midyear budget check-in on your business or personal finances.
Getting a True Picture of Where You’re at Financially
Sometimes it can be difficult to see our finances from a clear lens when you’re planning on a month-to-month basis. Taking the time to stop and look back on the year can help you truly see what you’ve accomplished (or need to accomplish) this year. Think of your mid-year check-in as a checkpoint on your road to tax season; you want to know where you’re at in order to get to where you’re going.
Perhaps you’ve incurred new expenses or sources of income, and you’d like to see what effect they’ve had on your finances over the last few months, or you’re planning for a big purchase and you want to be sure that your income-to-expense ratio has been consistent for the first half of the year. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to make time for a budget check-in after the first half of the year.
Plan for Tax Season
Tax season is just a few months away, so taking a good look at your financial situation now can help you plan for taxes later on. Your deductions may have changed this year, your income may have gone up (or down), and your overall financial picture can be vastly different from the year before.
It’s a good idea to know what you’re working with before you visit your accountant for tax filings. Having your expenses and other financial papers and information organized is not only good for your accountant but good for you as well. Should you ever be audited, or simply need a document, having it filed and organized will ensure you can easily locate it.
Compare YTD Numbers
If you’ve ever wondered where you are financially in comparison to the year before, a mid-year budget check-in can be just the thing to show you. You’ll be able to compare your income and monthly expenses with last year’s; and hopefully, identify some key changes that either helped or hurt your finances.
Reflection is one of the best ways to invoke positive change. By reflecting on last year’s finances, you can plan for the rest of the year in a way that will ensure you’re minimizing expenses and continuously improving your financial situation.
Account for New Expenses or Income
Did you purchase a new home this year? A new vehicle? Make an investment? Get a raise? These are all things you’ll want to account for in your budget. A raise can drastically improve your income situation, whereas an unexpected expense can have the opposite effect. Either way, you’ll want to know which things are affecting your finances every month.
You’ll also want to ensure that you’re sticking to your budget, despite new expenses (or new income). Even with more income, you shouldn’t be carelessly spending your money. After all, planning for retirement or creating a savings account are always good ideas when you’ve got extra income to spend.
Be sure to include all of your monthly expenses in your budget check-in. Even the smallest things like gasoline for your car or your monthly coffee habit can add up quickly and impact your financial situation more than you might think (especially with the price of coffee these days). Every penny should be accounted for, documented, and included in your financial planning. Leaving out even the smallest detail can come back to haunt you later on. Pay attention to detail!
Decide if you Need Expert Help or Advice
If you perform a mid-year check-in and find that you’re struggling to plan or maintain a budget, you may need to seek expert advice from a financial planner or other professional. Sometimes, managing money simply isn’t your strong point; and that’s ok! Not everyone is great at money management, which is a science in and of itself.
With the help of a financial expert, you can begin the journey to financial success, and learn the secrets to successfully manage your money. With better discipline and the tools provided to you by your advisor, you’ll be able to save more, spend less, and obtain a sense of financial peace that you will be incredibly thankful for. There’s no price on peace of mind, as the saying goes, so don’t be afraid to hire an advisor if you feel your financial situation beginning to backslide. You can compare the 5 best financial advisors in Dallas on the Careful Cents site.
Keeping in touch with your finances ensures that you know where your money is going each month. Don’t leave something like your monthly budget to chance; plan well, stick to your budget, and always be sure to seek professional help if you find yourself slipping. It’s better to spend a bit more on professional help than to wait until your debt is piling up.