This post is brought to you by The Huntington National Bank and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
Today I’m sharing about the importance of a personal financial check-in. This topic is especially relevant as my husband and I just had a budget meeting a few weeks ago to look at our personal budget and see how we are doing. This meeting is a regular occurrence for us, but this particular meeting also touched on some of the financial goals and intentions I shared with you earlier this summer.
Foremost, we recently returned from taking a vacation for our anniversary and our daughter started preschool in September. For us, like many, the change of season to Autumn and back to school time provided a natural shift in schedules, a revisiting of priorities and financial goals.
Today I want to offer some personal tips on how we perform a financial check-in, and also share some tools Huntington Bank offers that can make this check-in process even easier! As a 2019 Huntington Bank Influencer Ambassador, this year I am sharing my personal banking experiences and talking about finances. Additionally, I am sharing some of the key service offerings of Huntington Bank, along with their banking products, events and initiatives. Huntington Bank is a full-service banking provider.
What is a Budget Meeting?
First, let’s start at the beginning. There was a time in my life where I wouldn’t have known what a budget meeting was or what it would look like! To be honest I did a pretty horrible job of doing financial check-ins on my own when I was single. Everything I will talk about here is how my husband and I have a budget meeting, but if you are single or unmarried you can 100% have a budget meeting with yourself – and should.
A budget meeting is a set time and place to talk about and review financial goals, account balances, income flow, upcoming bills and expenses. If you are married you should have this meeting with your spouse. If you are single, you should have the meeting and review your own accounts and balances and ask yourself a few questions to make sure you are still on track. A budget meeting is really no different than revisiting other personal goals you may have set on January 1.
How to Make a Monthly Budget
There are many different types of budgets. Your personal budget should list every known or reoccurring expense in your household. It should also include line items for things you want to save for or plan for in the future. Some common expenses included on a personal household budget include:
- Rent / Mortgage
- Utility Bills
- Cell Phone / Internet / Cable
- Auto Insurance / Repairs
- Food / Dining Out
- and more!
How Often Should You Talk About Your Personal Budget?
This can vary depending on the complexity of your finances, your goals and financial situation. We have had budget meetings as often as monthly and other times as infrequently as quarterly. It’s good to not go too long without touching base on finances, however, to make sure you remain on track with goals and do not run into a financial emergency.
My husband and I had a lot to talk about at our recent meeting so we agreed we should talk again in a month and we would even revisit a few of the same topics again. For this meeting we had an electronic calendar invite in which we typed notes and discussion points. Alternatively, you can keep track of your notes or topics in a notebook or app.
At our recent meeting, most of our topics covered what I shared with you in July regarding our financial goals and intentions for the year. We had some notes jotted down that looked like this:
- Savings Account Balance / Goals
- Preschool / FSA
- Vacation Follow Up
- House Projects
- Holiday Spending
As I’ve shared before, keeping an eye on our budgets on a daily, weekly and monthly basis is integral to having success with financial goals. Also thinking ahead and forecasting is important. For example, if you want to take a week-long vacation in Spring 2020, right now might be a good time to begin talking about it and budgeting for it!
What Should You Talk About During Your Budget Meeting?
As I mentioned, be sure to review and touch base on account balances, bills, goals and any other financial topics. A budget meeting can cover large topics and even small ones! One of our smaller topics recently was regarding holiday spending. Each year we both like to take advantage of some of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials and buy some extra clothing, personal items or electronics.
We agreed to allot some extra funds in November for this. The conversation on that topic only took a minute but it was important to touch base so there was no confusion and so that our budget reflected our decision to spend a little extra on ourselves. Keep in mind that some budget meeting topics may be recurring such as this topic, on an annual basis. Other topics may be raised monthly – for instance if you live on an irregular income, you might look at your income every single month.
Huntington Bank Budget Tools
Huntington Tools to Help with Your Personal Budget
In addition to having a face to face meeting (or solo meeting) and reviewing accounts and notes, Huntington Bank offers some tools that can aid with your financial check-in and make reaching your goals even easier. Through my relationship with Huntington Bank, I want to share a little more about these tools as they might help with your individual financial situation.
You might opt to use one of these tools, or all of them, depending on your own financial personality and preferences. A great example of preferences is I like to look at our budget on the laptop in a large window, my husband, on the other hand, prefers to view it on mobile. I also tend to take more notes on paper and he takes more electronic notes. The differences are not right or wrong, we have each found what works best for us.
Huntington Bank continues to create financial tools designed specifically to aid the needs of their customers. These tools include: Spend SetterSM , Huntington Heads UpⓇ Alerts (message and data rates may apply) and Savings Goal GetterSM. Here’s a little bit more detail about each tool so you can get a feel for how the tool works and what it might help you with. I have included links to the tools as well so you can check them out directly on the Huntington Bank website.
Huntington Bank Tool Descriptions
This tool allows you to set monthly spending limits for categories within your budget such as groceries, eating out and entertainment. By using a Huntington debit or credit card linked to your account, the Spend Setter tool will track your transactions and let you know if you are getting close to the spending limit you set, or if you went over.
The tool uses easy to remember color coding to help you keep track of your finances: green means you are on track, yellow means you are nearing your spending limit and red means you went over. Spend Setter also offers the ability to create personal budgets and will recommend spending limits for you!
Huntington Heads Up®
Similar to how Spend Setter will give you notice if you are nearing or over spending on a financial budget category, Huntington Heads Up alerts can help keep you on track. If your spending is on track, close to your limit, or over – you will receive an alert. These alerts can help you save more and also help you to decide when to splurge. At the end of the month, the tool will let you know how you did so that you can adjust your spending and savings goals for the next month based on past history.
Savings Goal GetterSM
As I’ve mentioned before, when saving for a large project such as the new roof we recently put on, it can be hard to determine which funds in your savings account are for the project versus for an emergency. Savings Goal Getter helps simplify your goal setting and breaks down where your money is going on your family budget.
This tool allows you to set up automatic transfers to save automatically for a goal, it also prioritizes your emergency fund foremost, and helps you reach other financial goals by allocating funds. I also talked in detail about Savings Goal Getter when I shared about saving for an emergency.
Maintaining a Personal Budget
I hope this post provides a simple introduction to both having and maintaining a personal budget, along with some tools that might help you stay on track. Our budgeting is a combination of tracking, checking in financially and using the tools that best suit our individual needs and budgeting style.
If you are looking for tools within the Huntington Mobile app or online interface to help you stay on track, visit Huntington Bank online and check out Huntington Heads Up alerts, Spend Setter and Savings Goal Getter. You can also find Huntington Bank on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
What does a financial check-in look like for you?
Disclosure: I am working with Huntington Bank as a 2019 Huntington Bank Influencer Ambassador and will receive compensation in exchange for writing blog posts about my experience as a Huntington Bank customer and highlighting the bank’s unique offerings. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.