When starting out your firefighting career, you are bound to make some questionable financial decisions, and budgeting is one of them. The thought of accounting for every purchase or how you spend your money is often intimidating, which is why budgeting is a touchy subject.

However, to achieve financial stability, you need to make responsible budgeting decisions. You need to eliminate all negative spending habits you may have and start being conscious of how you handle money. The good news is that it is never too late to make your budget work for you. While the goal of CalPATH is to save you money, you can help cut down on unnecessary spendings, and get on top of your budget by following the following steps:

Here are the top budgeting mistakes you should avoid

Frivolous spending

It is so tempting to buy the biggest machine you can lay your hands on immediately after you get your paycheck. Yes, you worked hard for that money, but have you considered having the money work for you?

This does not mean that you shouldn’t grab other guys from the station and grab drinks after work. It only means that you should spend your money more responsibly. Remember, great fortunes are lost one dollar at a time. This is perhaps the most important out of all budgeting mistakes. Avoid making it and you’ll be on your way to saving money.

Failing to track expenses

Spending without a budget is equivalent to driving without a seatbelt. Create monthly budgets and follow them through. Analyze your previous months’ budgets and identify how much you should allocate each area.

Avoid making assumptions about how much you will spend because you will end up spending more than you intended.

Not having an emergency fund

Public servants have the luxury of having some form of job security but don’t get too comfortable.

Set aside some of your money towards an emergency fund1 until you’ve saved at least 6 months of your monthly salary. Nothing is ever certain and when things get thick, you’ll be glad you had savings to see you through.

Relying on overtime

Don’t get drawn into the cycle of relying on overtime to make ends meet. In fact, never plan your budget based on the money you expect from working overtime. Why? For starters, it is not guaranteed and most importantly, your department can cut the overtime budget or eliminate it altogether.

What happens then? If your salary is not enough to cater to your expenses, find a way to eliminate some, or make extra money.

Not working as a team

Finances are a sensitive subject among couples but if you’re to budget your money effectively, both of you will have to work as a team. Two incomes are always better than one and your fire department salary may not be enough to cover all expenses and still cater to savings.
If your spouse is also working, create the budget together so that your spending habits are consistent with the set budget.

Avoid These Costly Budgeting Mistakes and Save Money

One of the most underrated success factors of budgeting money is the motivation it requires. It’s never easy to cultivate healthy financial habits or eliminate the old ones. The first step is creating a realistic budget and ensuring that you follow it to the latter while avoiding the above mistakes.

Links to sources used

  1. How To Build An Emergency Fund And Save For The Unexpected – https://www.forbes.com/sites/francesbridges/2019/01/29/how-to-build-an-emergency-fund-and-save-for-the-unexpected/