We’ve all been there: you’ve recently bought a home, but the initial excitement is starting to fade as reality begins to set in, highlighting all the items on your to-do list as a new homeowner. After finalizing payments, moving costs, and braving many of the initial moving tasks, it’s time to begin the real journey of budgeting for your new life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’ve found the right article.
Use these tips as a guide to help you prepare for the coming months of payments and alleviate some stress knowing that you have all the basics covered, finances organized, and can place your focus on enjoying this exciting adventure!
One of the first things you should consider doing to get your finances in gear after purchasing a home is to simply list out all costs you will be taking on in the coming months. If you’d like to organize further, feel free to break your list down into more specific categories, such as, utilities, maintenance, kitchen or bathroom repairs, and renovations. This will help you identify where you will need to allocate money regularly in order to ensure that you have enough to cover your basic bills.
Create and Regularly Assess Your Budget
A great way to stay on top of all your payments and manage your cash flow is to create your new home budget. This is a very important step in the process of responsibly and independently managing your finances. It’s important to remain proactive rather than reactive in this case, so you won’t be left receiving bills you forgot were due that month, with no money set aside for them. Sticking to a budgeting routine should be a priority upon your initial move if you want to start off your new life on the right foot. Also, consider what works for your lifestyle so that budgeting doesn’t get placed on the back burner or feel like a huge chore.
Try incorporating this practice into your morning by designing your budget while you drink your coffee and write out your weekly to-do list. Again, do what works for you–if you feel sharpest in the evening, save your budgeting for later in the day when you have your laptop in front of you and can focus. This way, you’re integrating a new practice into a routine you’re already doing—not trying to take action at an inconvenient time.
Track All Your Spending
Once you’ve determined how much money you have to spend on non-negotiable purchases that month, you can start to focus on other things you need or want to buy. It’s normal to want to buy new things for your home, and it can feel exciting to decorate and fill the space. While doing so, however, it can be easy to lose track of how much money you’re actually spending.
This is the time to utilize the budget breakdown you’ve created to give yourself a clear sense of how much money you have available to spend. From there, it might be in your best interest to download an online banking app that conveniently tracks as you spend money, which is especially helpful when you’re shopping or on-the-go. It’s much easier to stick to your budget when you can accurately review your purchase history just seconds after cashing out.
Have a Back-Up Plan
A very important, yet often overlooked financial management practice is maintaining a backup plan or emergency fund. Each month, once you’ve paid your bills and other expenses, you should try to set aside a small portion of your income for emergency home repairs or health situations that could arise and negatively impact your financial state.
Although we like to think of these times as few and far between, surprises can occur at any moment and can be a major source of stress and financial difficulty. Learn about the simple ways you can build up an emergency fund in order to provide you with some extra financial cushion and peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared—even if something unexpected does occur.
Plan for the Future
It is a valuable life lesson to live in the present and embrace unknown opportunities—but being overly prepared never hurt anyone either.
It is smart to create a flexible game plan for the future that allows for growth, change, and redirection of our path, without just leaving it all up to chance. Think about where you see yourself in one year, five years, and ten years. What do your goals look like? What type of car do you drive? What does your family look like? These pivotal life decisions cannot be supported without the proper finances to back them. Keeping in touch with your dreams and plans will help you stay motivated and encourage positive habits that allow you to purchase the things you want because you’ve planned and saved.
Purchasing a home is a significant part of an independent adulthood that you should be feeling proud of. Although this time will feel stressful, coupled with positive and negative emotions, and maybe slightly overwhelming, have confidence in your ability to approach this experience in an organized and intentional way. Keep your major goals in mind, plan ahead, budget regularly, and never stop revisiting your dreams–your future awaits you, and your new home is moving you one step closer.