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Sixteen Sweet Budgeting Strategies for Winning with Money

Any good household budget strategy requires passing, blocking and rebounding – and a few cheerleaders never hurt.

Don Milne Mar 18, 2019

Every March, even people who don’t normally follow basketball are drawn into the madness of a tournament that will crown the best college basketball team in the nation. People fill out brackets and root for the teams they pick advance to the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and Final Four.

When it comes to managing your money, you can also fill out a bracket to help you advance your financial goals. Make sure to include these sweet sixteen budgeting strategies in your household financial planning.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #1: Assist

Most people aren’t born as good money managers. Make sure you take the time and assist your children in adopting good money habits.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #2: Bank Shot

To score with money you need to keep making those bank shots. The more you are able to put away in a savings account, the easier it is to handle life’s emergencies.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #3: Block

Bad things can happen that can ruin your finances. You could have a fire in your home, your car could get in an accident, you may need a medical operation. You can block a big drain on your finances if you have insurance for home, auto, health, and life.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #4: Cheerleaders

Sometimes succeeding with money means making choices that may not make you popular with the crowd. Maybe you brown bag your lunch so you have more money to put into your 401(k). Maybe you skip a vacation so you can pay off a debt faster. You don’t need people on your sidelines calling you a tightwad. You need cheerleaders who will encourage you to keep up the hard work so you achieve your money goals.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #5: Coach

It’s easy to make mistakes if you try to learn on your own. With a good financial coach, you can learn the moves to make the best shots. Look for someone who has been successful with money. They most likely will be happy to guide your development.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #6: Drills

When it comes to managing money, doing a monthly household budget is the drill that gets results. Without a budget it is too easy to play sloppy and make choices that will leave you running out of gas before the game (month) ends. Get started with a Zions Bank personal budgeting calculator.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #7: Final Four

Sometimes emergencies happen that cause a big drop in income, like a lost job. When that happens, you need to prioritize which bills get paid first. Personal finance guru Dave Ramsey recommends that when your expenses exceed income, you may have to skip paying some bills, but these final four should take priority: food, utilities, housing and transportation. Other bill collectors may cry louder, but you need to take care of the basics first.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #8: Fouls

If you have too many financial fouls — like not paying your bills, having a car repossessed or maxing out and exceeding your credit card limits — you’re going to find it hard to win. Keep up the bad play and you’ll foul out with a bankruptcy. Play a clean game and you will stay on the court.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #9: Halftime

Life goes by fast. What if you find yourself halfway through your working years and you notice you haven’t made the financial points you hoped? You still have another half to play. Use halftime to reassess your game plan and focus on the time you have. Many teams pull out a win with a strong second half.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #10: Overtime

When your career ends, your life goes into overtime. Because you won’t be working, you need to live off your savings. Make budgeting for retirement a priority early in your game and you’ll win in overtime.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #11: Pass

Sometimes you are presented with a financial investment with a high return that sounds too good to be true. It’s a favorite practice of financial scammers to present a deal that you just can’t pass up. Money doesn’t grow on trees and prudent investment is never a get-rich-quick scheme. When you run across something like this, make a pass.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #12: Pivot

Sometimes the problem with your money game isn’t a spending problem, it’s an income problem. In a strong economy like we have now, you should be open to pivot to a new, better-paying job.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #13: Rebound

Sometimes your investments in the market don’t score. You may be tempted to take out your money to cut your losses and find a safer place. History has shown that playing the market timing game is for losers. Yes, the market will go down, but it has proven to rebound too. Play the long game, keep with a proven investment strategy, and you should pile up some big numbers.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #14: Slam Dunk

There is nothing that makes managing money easier than signing up for online banking and mobile banking so you can remotely deposit checks, transfer funds, pay bills and send money to friends. With these tools, making your money work for you is a slam dunk.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #15: Team

Most people aren’t going to reach their potential on their own. When it comes to success with money you need to fill your team with pros at each position. This should include help with insurance, estate planning, investing and accounting. You have to pay to get help, but it should end up earning you more in the end.

Sweet Sixteen Budgeting Strategy #16: Timeout

When it is time to make a big purchase, the best thing to do is take a timeout and wait and think it through. If you decide it is not for you, you save yourself from making a wrong purchase. If it is the right thing, then go back and buy it.

Chances are that when filling out your NCAA tournament brackets, you won’t get all your teams into the Sweet Sixteen. But when you work with your local Zions Bank branch to help implement these budgeting strategies, you have a great shot at achieving this financial “sweet sixteen.”

Don Milne is Financial Literacy Manager for Zions Bank.

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