Dad and daughter looking at a tablet

Create a household budget


Working with an advisor can help maximize your current budget — knowing where your money goes now, reallocating funds to save more, planning better, etc. It all starts with a budget.

Start by setting realistic goals

With your financial goals in mind, create a personalized plan to get to where you’d like to be today, tomorrow and in the future.

Start by identifying your short-term goals. These might include things like paying off credit card debt or student loans, saving for a major purchase like a new home or vehicle, or taking a family vacation.

Next, consider your long-term goals. Maybe you dream of sending your children to college, starting your own business or retiring early to live abroad and see the capitals of the world.

Visualizing what you really want to achieve can help you understand your true financial goals

Prioritize your goals

Making your goals concrete is an important part of the process. Once you have your list of goals, ask yourself:

  • How important is it for me to achieve each of these goals?
  • When do I want to achieve them?
  • And how much will I need to save to get there?

With a clearer picture of your goals and dreams for the future, you can implement a plan that will help you reach them.

Setting priorities can help make your goals more concrete

Identify your income and expenses

It’s tough to keep track of where your paycheck ends up, especially when the line between “need" and “want" is blurred. A closer look at your cash flow — the money coming in versus the money going out — will help you start to see where you have choices in your spending.

One way to make your spending decisions clearer is to think about your discretionary income strategically:

  • Review your budget to see how you spend.
  • Set up a cash management system.
  • Establish family spending rules.
Step 1: Income
Step 2: Expenses
Step 3: Results

Fill out your budget below

You'll get a much better idea of how you spend what you make, where you can make changes and how to plan for your future. It can even help reduce your stress!

While Ameriprise has been diligent in attempting to provide accurate calculations, the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed. This information should not be used as a sole basis for investment decisions and may not meet the particular needs of an individual investor.

Start with your monthly income.

Per Month
% of total income
Total Salaries and bonuses
0%
Rental/investment income
0%
Other income
0%

Total income
$0
100.0%

While Ameriprise has been diligent in attempting to provide accurate calculations, the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed. This information should not be used as a sole basis for investment decisions and may not meet the particular needs of an individual investor.

Now enter your monthly expenses1 of 3

Income $9,100
Expenses $6,300
Essential Expenses
Per Month
% of total income

Housing
0%
Food/groceries
0%
Health care
0%
Transportation
0%
Other loans/debts
0%
Other essentials
0%

While Ameriprise has been diligent in attempting to provide accurate calculations, the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed. This information should not be used as a sole basis for investment decisions and may not meet the particular needs of an individual investor.

Now enter your monthly expenses2 of 3

Income $0
Expenses $0
Lifestyle Expenses
Per Month
% of total income

Entertainment
0%
Travel/vacations
0%
Giving
0%
Other lifestyle expenses
0%

While Ameriprise has been diligent in attempting to provide accurate calculations, the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed. This information should not be used as a sole basis for investment decisions and may not meet the particular needs of an individual investor.

Now enter your monthly expenses3 of 3

Income $0
Expenses $0
Contributions to financial priorities
Per Month
% of total income

Retirement savings
0%
College savings
0%
Other goals
0%
Your taxes
0%

While Ameriprise has been diligent in attempting to provide accurate calculations, the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed. This information should not be used as a sole basis for investment decisions and may not meet the particular needs of an individual investor.

 

Congratulations!

You can save more money for your financial dreams and goals.

Income
$10,113
Expenses
$10,113
95.8% of total income

Surplus
$113
95.8% of total income

While Ameriprise has been diligent in attempting to provide accurate calculations, the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed. This information should not be used as a sole basis for investment decisions and may not meet the particular needs of an individual investor.

Save automatically with systematic savings

Systematic saving is the process of automatically setting aside a specific amount of your income at regular intervals — whether weekly, biweekly or monthly. Rather than putting away money whenever you have some extra cash, or saving whatever is left after paying your monthly expenses, with systematic saving, you pay yourself first.

Your cash reserve should include at least six months' worth of living expenses, and ideally 1 – 3 years' worth, depending on your age and income.

To set up systematic savings, arrange with your employer or financial institution to transfer a set amount of money from your paycheck to a designated savings vehicle on a consistent, regular schedule. Here are just three options to consider:

Payroll savings plans


A feature of many employer benefit plans is a payroll savings plan. Consider using this benefit to deposit a designated amount of money from each paycheck into a specified account — similar to how an employer-sponsored retirement account works.

Automatic bank account transfers


Most banks and credit unions let you set up automatic transfers between your checking account and higher-yielding savings or money market deposit accounts. Your checking account serves as the hub for automatic transfers into your savings, money market and/or other designated cash reserve account.

Financial account alternatives


Similarly, most financial institutions, brokerage firms and mutual fund companies give you the ability to automatically transfer money between their different savings and investment vehicles.

Putting away a set amount of money automatically and at regular intervals ensures a portion of your income always supports your long-term savings plan, helping to keep you prepared for life’s inevitable financial emergencies — and opportunities.

Have a conversation with your financial advisor about your unique goals and how systematic savings can help your budget and meet your financial needs.