K.E.M. Strategic Partners LLC | 35 Village Road, Suite 100 | Middleton MA 01949 | P. 978-560-3404  |  F. 978.560.1623

 
 

Caring  |   Independent   |   Practical
Financial Services

Money Read Time: 3 min

Budget Check Up: Tax Time Is the Right Time

Every year, about 150 million households file their federal tax returns. For many, the process involves digging through shoe boxes or manila folders full of receipts; gathering mortgage, retirement, and investment account statements; and relying on computer software to take advantage of every tax break the code permits.1

It seems a shame not to make the most of all that effort.

Tax preparation may be the only time of year many households gather all their financial information in one place. That makes it a perfect time to take a critical look at how much money is coming in and where it’s all going. In other words, this is a great time to give the household budget a checkup.

Six-Step Process

Budget Check Up

A thorough budget checkup involves six steps.

  1. Creating Some Categories. Start by dividing expenses into useful categories. Some possibilities: home, auto, food, household, debt, clothes, pets, entertainment, and charity. Don’t forget savings and investments. It may also be helpful to create subcategories. Housing, for example, can be divided into mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance.
  2. Following the Money. Go through all the receipts and statements gathered to prepare taxes and get a better understanding of where the money went last year. Track everything. Be as specific as possible, and don’t forget to account for the cost of a latte on the way to the office each day.
  3. Projecting Expenses Forward. Knowing how much was spent per budget category can provide a useful template for projecting future expenses. Go through each category. Are expenses likely to rise in the coming year? If so, by how much? The results of this projection will form the basis of a budget for the coming year.
  4. Determining Expected Income. Add together all sources of income. Make sure to use net income.
  5. Doing the Math. It’s time for the moment of truth. Subtract projected expenses from expected income. If expenses exceed income, it may be necessary to consider changes. Prioritize categories and look to reduce those with the lowest importance until the budget is balanced.
  6. Sticking to It. If it’s not in the budget, don’t spend it. If it’s an emergency, make adjustments elsewhere.

Tax time can provide an excellent opportunity. You have a chance to give your household budget a thorough checkup. In taking control of your money, you may find you are able to devote more of it to the pursuit of your financial goals.

1. IRS.gov, 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Share |
 

Related Content

The Facts About Income Tax

The Facts About Income Tax

Millions faithfully file their 1040 forms each April. But some things about federal income taxes may surprise you.

U.S. Personal Savings Rate

U.S. Personal Savings Rate

What can be learned from the savings rate?

Four Tips for Getting the Most From Your Life's Work

Four Tips for Getting the Most From Your Life's Work

Some things to consider when contemplating selling your business

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Mortgages in Retirement

Explore the benefits and drawbacks to paying off your mortgage prior to retirement with this article.

Overlooked Ways to Add Diversity to Your Portfolio

It’s an exciting time for American investors. Recent years have seen a boom in Americans investing in the stock market, with Goldman Sachs estimating U.S. households will spend $400 billion on equities in 2021, averaging an eyebrow-raising 44% allocation of their total assets to stocks. Between new technologies (like mobile trading apps) lowering the bar to entry and “meme stock” trends raising awareness, it’s no wonder so many people are waking up to the power and potential of investing.

Financial Fixes: From Health Scare to Financial Care

A medical scare can be a wake-up call in terms of your physical and financial health. Here’s how to strengthen your finances

View all articles

Home Mortgage Deduction

Use this calculator to assess the potential benefits of a home mortgage deduction.

Bi-Weekly Payments

This calculator estimates the savings from paying a mortgage bi-weekly instead of monthly.

Interested in a Fuel Efficient Car?

Estimate how many months it may take to recover the out-of-pocket costs when buying a more efficient vehicle.

View all calculators

Your Cash Flow Statement

A presentation about managing money: using it, saving it, and even getting credit.

5 Smart Investing Strategies

There are some smart strategies that may help you pursue your investment objectives

Principles of Preserving Wealth

How federal estate taxes work, plus estate management documents and tactics.

View all presentations

Bridging the Confidence Gap

In the world of finance, the effects of the "confidence gap" can be especially apparent.

Timing Your Retirement

This short video illustrates why knowing when to retire can be a crucial part of your strategy.

When Special Care Is Needed: The Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust helps care for a special needs child when you’re gone.

View all videos