Budgeting for Your Future
According to Certification Magazine’s 2005 Salary Survey 65.9 percent of respondents spent less than $2,000 on certification overall, spending an average of $2,580 in 2005, whereas they typically spent $2,620 in 2004. In addition, on average, 78.8 percent of respondents spent less than $1,000 on training materials alone, with 63.8 percent spending less than $500. In 2005, respondents spent, on average, $1,029 on materials along to get their primary certification, compared to $1,039 in 2004.
Although the money respondents spent was down a little last year, the price to earn a certification or take a course can be quite expensive—especially when you add in all the other day-to-day and month-to-month expenses you already have to deal with.
Depending on your particular financial situation, you can only determine how to budget for your future. Here are a few tips that will surely help you save for your future.
- Establish a savings goal. After conducting some preliminary research on the average amount of money you need for a course or certification course and exam, you can figure out how much money you need to put away each month and for how many months. First, you must make sure that realizing that goal still allows you to live within your current means. If not, you should adjust the monthly amount to an average you can afford. Knowing exactly how much you have to put away each month will help you realistically reach your savings goal on time.
- Get organized—meaning, make sure that you stay on top of your spending. Not only should you always live within your means, you should be smart about your spending. There is a definite difference between good debt and bad debt. Bad debt is frivolous spending, like going out to dinner with your friends, buying a leather jacket you don’t really need or buying the newest version of the Final Fantasy video game just because you want to. Good debt is if you have to use your credit cards to buy a gallon of milk and Cheerios because you are hungry. Also, be sure to pay attention to your billing statements. Carefully read your bills and statements each month. This will help you keep track of your spending, alerts you to fraud and any mistakes that may occur on your account.
- Try to be as frugal as possible. For example if you are a videogame addict and cannot live without the new edition of Final Fantasy, why don’t you rent it from Blockbuster? Alternatively, if you love to read books or listen to music, couldn’t you buy used books or CDs instead? In addition, you know those penny-saver coupon books you receive in the mail each month? Have you ever really flipped through it? Coupons can really help you put that extra $5 away each month.
Remember every penny counts when you are saving for your future. So if you have your heart on a new certification, create your budget and start saving now. That certification may help you reach a higher salary tier in the future.