Budgeting for uncertainty
We’ve heard it said countless times how uncertain this moment is. And whether you’re dealing with anxiety over the economy, income loss, or just the loss of your regular routine, setting a budget is one practical way to help you plan for the future. If the idea of budgeting itself gives you anxiety, we’re here to help with some simple steps to begin or revisit your budget.
Pick a goal, any goal.
Maybe you’re trying to build up an emergency fund, maybe you need to stretch your savings to last through a period of reduced income, or maybe you’re planning for expenses like school or home ownership. Knowing what you want to achieve is step one, and remember, you can always change it later.
Give every dollar a job.
Bank person Susan Lind advises her customers to be very intentional about their spending: “If you don't tell your money where to go, it's going to decide on its own.” This aligns with the concept of “zero-based budgeting,” where you allocate every bit of income for the month toward savings, fixed expenses, fun money, and emergencies.
Or be more general.
Another school of thought is to put funds into bigger “buckets,” like the 50/30/20 rule of thumb (50% needs, 30% wants, 20% savings). Or consider bank person Isaiah Vader’s philosophy: “Save for fun, save for emergencies, and save for whatever.” What’s whatever? It’s whatever is most important to you.
Go easy on yourself.
Even under the most predictable circumstances, not every month goes as planned. In turbulent times like these, that goes double. Unexpected expenses and less stable income streams may set you back, but give yourself grace and keep moving forward.
Call for reinforcements.
Know that whatever your situation, you’re not alone. Your bank people are here with advice, support, and zero judgements.