It’s the beginning of a New Year and a great time to make changes for the better. One great goal for 2017 is creating a budget. It is important to have a budget so that you know you will always have enough money for the things that you need and so that you can save for the things that are important to you. Having a budget can help keep you out of debt and prioritize your spending.
There are four basic budget categories:
First are your fixed payments, things that you have to pay for every month, or maybe on an annual or other basis. These are things like utilities, car payments, mortgage payments or rent, cell phone bills, debt payments, car registration, insurance, etc.
Second, flexible spending. These are categories that you need to spend money on, like food, clothing, and personal care items, but that you can save money on by setting a budget and sticking to it. For example, you can spend less money eating out by limiting the number of times per month you go out.
Third are your emergency funds. These are things that you should save a little for in case you have a health emergency, your car breaks down, etc. A good recommendation is to have 3 months of your income saved in an emergency fund. This might sound like a lot, but if you can swing it, it will feel great to have this safety net. If you can't do this now, it can always be something to work towards.
The last category is the most fun, discretionary funds! Discretionary funds are money that you left over to spend on fun things like going to the movies, buying that new tv you want, traveling, etc. To figure out how much money you have to spend on these things, first calculate your monthly income, then deduct your necessary spending. Once you have done this, you can figure out how much money you have left over and prioritize how you want to spend it.
Basic Budget Categories
There are lots of helpful tools online to get you started with a budget, but here are some helpful categories to get you started.
- car expenses
- cell phone
- health care/medical
- debt payments
- life insurance
- personal care items
- household items
- job loss
- car repair
- medical emergency
- home repair
- large purchases
- home improvement
Why Make a Budget?
One great thing about creating a budget is that you can actually have more money to spend on the things you want! How, you ask? By tracking what you spend and looking at patterns over time, you can figure out if you are spending your money on the things that you really want to be spending it on. For example, instead of buying that $5.00 Starbucks every morning, you could save that money and put it in a travel fund. At the end of the year, you would have $1,825 to spend. You can also save money in categories like eating out or clothing. You might be surprised by what you discover when you track your spending in these areas.
So what are you going to do with all this extra cash?
Did you know that Las Vegas is one of the cheapest places to visit in the United States, with great deals on flights and hotel rooms, especially during certain times of the year? And Las Vegas actually has lots of fun activities and events for all ages, as well as great food! You might be surprised to find out that during certain times of the year you can get an airline ticket from many major U.S. cities to Las Vegas for under $100! You can also stay at great hotels on the strip for just $40 a night! Rent a car for $20 a day, or utilize services such as Uber or Lift to get around if you don’t think that you will be needing to travel by car often. While you are in Las Vegas make a plan to budget for a cool show and dine in a nice restaurant (about $200 per person) and take advantage of some of the cool free activities such as the Bellagio fountain and gardens and people watching. If you are going to pay for an activity, consider a helicopter tour with Serenity. It’s a great way to see the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s seven natural wonders located just 66 miles from Las Vegas as the crow flies. Book a tour for as little as $249 for a single person. This means that for one person to go to Las Vegas for a week would cost about half of what you could save in a year on that daily coffee!
A helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon is a one of a kind experience that you will remember for a lifetime. Many of our guests say that it is the best thing they did while in Las Vegas and that it is more than worth the price! Here is what some of them have to say about the experience:
“Best part of the holiday, worth every penny. Views were incredible, landing in a non-tourist spot was better than we imagined and the 30min stop/picnic was all we needed to get some amazing photos. Can't recommend this company and adventure enough. If you're debating whether it's worth the money, just do it, you won't regret it.” - Lucy D
“This was the most amazing thing I have ever done. Michael "Mad Dog" Davis our pilot was wonderful. Knowledgeable about the geology and history of the Canyon and a great tour guide, great sense of humour fun, funny and knowledgeable but always professional. His play list while flying was marvelous. I simply can't say enough about this trip other than it was well worth the money and the best thing we did while we were in Vegas.” - bykrchik
“Cross one off on the bucket list with this amazing helicopter tour. I would do this again, easily the best money spent in Vegas with incredible value!” - Craig D
“I decided to do something different and unique for my wife's and my 2nd anniversary and I must say this was absolutely the best money spent in Vegas ever and the best choice!! We had a catered dinner in the base of the canyon overlooking the Colorado River - the food was over the top and the Pinot Noir that we ordered was there and ready for us to enjoy. The views, the music, the flight I truly cannot put into words. As we took off and flew along the West rim of the Canyon, we rose to a most REMARKABLE sunset... my wife looked at me with the smile I was hoping for. This is without a doubt the best trip ever, I highly recommend this experience to EVERYONE. Your will thank me.” - CliffQuicksell