The home improvement and remodeling industry is booming, and as people seek affordable houses, buying a home “as-is” is a popular option. Many of these economically priced homes just need a little TLC to bring them back to their former glory.
Although interest in modest DIY projects continues to rise, most homeowners lack the necessary skills to take on major repairs, such as roof replacement or upgrading an HVAC system. This means they will be reaching out to professionals for assistance with more extensive remodels and upgrades.
How to start a home renovation business
Whether a homeowner is looking to remodel a single room or an entire house, there are many opportunities today for home renovation professionals to provide home improvement services. In fact, The Joint Center for Housing at Harvard University published a report showing that while the U.S. economy shrank by 3.5% in 2020, spending on home improvements and repairs grew more than 3%, becoming a nearly $420 billion industry.
If you’re interested in running your own home renovation business, follow these 14 steps to get started.
1. Know your market
Knowledge is power, and your first and most important step when starting a home renovation business is to know your market. Research competitors to get an idea of all the products and services available in your local market; call on businesses and visit showrooms.
Also, attend design and remodeling shows. Trade shows are convenient one-stop shops filled with many vendors under one roof, giving you the perfect opportunity to network, make connections, view current home decor trends, and find suppliers.
2. Formulate your business plan
No matter what the plan is for your new business—being a self-employed jack-of-all-trades, forming a partnership with your father-in-law, or creating a corporation with multiple business partners—you need to start with a solid business plan.
Different business models to choose from are:
- Sole proprietorship
- General partnership
- Limited liability corporation
- C corporation or S corporation
Don’t skip this step! Consult with a lawyer or reach out to organizations, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA), which can help you plan, launch, and grow your business.
3. Take care of paperwork
Focus on all the paperwork necessary to start your business—from choosing and registering your business name, opening a business banking account, to obtaining your professional trade license. Check to see if you need to file extra paperwork at the state or city level, as many local governments require you to collect and file sales tax returns for certain goods and services.
You will also need to decide if you’re going to hire employees, work with independent contractors, or do a combination of the two. You may also need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), as well as obtain worker’s compensation insurance, general liability insurance, and commercial property insurance.
4. Create promotional materials
Run a cost analysis to help create a marketing plan of ways to promote your business. These may include social media, print/TV advertising, digital strategies, OTT (over the top), events, expos, and more.
You will also need certain marketing materials, such as a company logo, website, and business cards. If you have basic design skills, you can use Canva or Photoshop to create social media posts, brochures, banner ads, infographics, and more; or you can contract with freelancers on a per-project basis.
5. Determine the scope of work
Decide if you want to offer your services as a general home renovation expert, tailoring your projects to a client’s specific needs, or focus on a particular niche, such as outdoor kitchens, home gyms, flooring, or luxury kitchen remodels.
Outdoor improvements, including driveways, fences, pergolas, and in-ground pools, are always a popular choice with homeowners. Another option is to specialize in providing upgrade services, such as replacing roofing, siding, windows, and doors.
Maybe you’ve worked as a journeyman plumber for a plumbing and air conditioning company, and now you’re interested in starting your own home renovation business. You can begin by offering bathroom renovation services on a part-time basis. This could evolve into kitchen or laundry room remodels, outdoor spa construction, or any project with a water feature, as you work your way up to larger and more complex renovations.
6. Start small
Are you willing to work long hours as you establish a new business? It could take you upwards of 10 to 12 hours a day to get your business off the ground. It’s always better to start small and work on building your skills as you work your way up to larger, more complex renovation projects.
If you have no prior experience in the home renovation space, you can either start out by working for someone else to learn the ins and outs of the business, or remodel a room or two in your own house. Show off your new space to friends and family, then volunteer to redo a neighbors home office at a low cost in return for positive reviews and referrals.
Before you know it, people will be reaching out to you and asking for your home improvement expertise and guidance.
7. Reach out for help if needed
Can you do some, all, or most of the work yourself? Basic skills, such as painting, hanging wallpaper, and laying flooring, can usually be learned as you go; more advanced skills, such as vaulting the ceiling in a living room, typically require expert-level knowledge.
8. Know how to write an estimate
Know your numbers and how to calculate a home renovation budget to estimate how much everything will cost, including architectural drawings, building permits, supplies, materials, etc. If a client isn’t 100% certain what they want to spend on their home renovation, find out exactly what they want and present them with two or three options.
You’ll also want to prepare for unexpected emergencies and set aside a certain percentage of your client’s budget as a contingency fund to cover unplanned surprises. Once you start tearing down walls, ripping up floors, and removing dropped ceilings, you never know what you’ll find. Leaky roofs, busted water pipes, and an electrical system not up to code can all take a large chunk out of a renovation budget.
9. Plan the construction process
If you’re removing walls to give your client an open concept home, you should consult with a structural engineer who will take a detailed look at the existing structure. The engineer will point out if the walls you are removing are load-bearing or not, and let you know if you need to install temporary support walls or add an engineered wood or steel structural support beam.
Before you can even start the permitting process, you’ll need a finalized set of building plans to bring to your local building department. You can work with a home builder, architect, draftsman, building designer, or structural engineer to help draft the new construction plans.
The general rule of thumb is if you’re changing a home’s footprint, such as building a kitchen addition or adding a covered porch, you’ll need a new set of plans to pull a permit. Check with the local building department to find out what’s needed.
10. Obtain all necessary permits
Get all permits and licenses in place before starting any job, or hire someone to be in charge of this process. Every city, town, and municipality has its own set of building code rules and regulations you need to follow.
Start the permitting process early—as soon as you have drawn up the final construction plans. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, permits can take weeks, or even months, to get approval.
Each stage of the remodeling process needs to be approved by an inspector, so don’t rush to start a job before you have the permits. You might think you’re saving time by immediately throwing up drywall after roughing in a new guest bathroom, but a building inspector could shut down your project or have you tear down walls to inspect the new plumbing.
11. Find reliable suppliers
Do your homework to find reliable and trustworthy suppliers and vendors. Ask for recommendations from friends and family, read online reviews, and view customer testimonials.
You can go to any big box home improvement store and find most items on your list. But, what if you are trying to source unusual or specialty items, such as hand-painted Moroccan tiles or the latest smart home innovations? In that case, you may have to go directly to a supplier for the best selection.
Basic home renovation suppliers to research include:
- Tile and flooring
- Paint and wallpaper
- Doors and windows
- Small appliances
- Electrical and plumbing
- Heating and cooling
- Lighting and ceiling fans
- Roofing and gutters
- Landscaping and gardening materials
- Home decor and furniture
- Kitchen and bathroom cabinets
- Hand tools and power tools
- Wood, drywall, screws, nails, and other basic building materials
When you’re gathering building supplies, it’s always a good idea to get more materials than you think you’ll need to finish the job. For instance, dye lots are often hard to match, or you could discover your item is on backorder if you underestimated the amount of tile you need to complete a guest bathroom remodel.
And, don’t forget to ask for a trade discount. Most suppliers offer 10 to 20% off retail prices. Usually, all you have to do is show your federal tax ID or professional license to register your business and get the contractor’s rate.
12. Focus on the end goal
Stay focused on the end goal when you do a remodeling project. It’s easy to get distracted, so make sure you’re always looking at the big picture and not getting hung up on minor details. Organization is also key to staying on track and preventing small details from slipping through the cracks.
Many home renovation experts keep a detailed punch list of things they need to do to finish a project. Suggested items to include on the punch list:
- Project name
- Date completed
Punch lists are a great project management tool—simply check off items as they are completed and add new items as necessary. While a pad of paper is all you need, you can create an Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet template and print it out for each project.
Also, it’s a good habit to carry the punch list with you when doing the final walk-through of a property so nothing gets missed or forgotten.
13. Post on social media
As you grow your business, you’ll want to create a book of finished projects to help bring in new clients. Take plenty of pictures showing stages of the home renovation process, and post the photos on your website and social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Short videos are another excellent marketing tool to display your work—share them on social media, embed in blog posts, and upload to YouTube.
Consistency is key when posting to social media. Using an editorial calendar to keep track of your marketing efforts on your various platforms helps keep everything organized and lets you know if there are any gaps in your coverage. Most social media sites allow you to schedule posts in advance, or you can use social media management tools, such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social.
14. Ask for customer reviews
Always ask your current and past clients to leave reviews for your business, as referrals and endorsements from happy customers are a great way to attract new clients. You can use these word-of-mouth testimonials on your website, in the form of quotes or short videos, to help generate trust and build social proof.
Top sites for online customer reviews:
- Your website
The best ways to collect reviews are to include a review form on your website, ask customers for feedback via email, create surveys and polls on your social media sites, or send an SMS text message with a link to fill out an online review.
How to use Instagram for business
Instagram isn’t just a social media app full of Love Island influencers and hilarious memes.
It is also a vitally important tool for commerce, with 90% of its users following at least one business account and 44% of them using the platform to shop weekly, according to Instagram’s latest internal data.
It would be a missed opportunity to not use this platform to showcase your brand. But we understand that getting to grips with the business side of Instagram can be a time-consuming and complex task, particularly if you are not very social media savvy.
If you’re low on time and require a bit of support in launching a successful Instagram strategy, we’d advise reaching out to an agency for a little help to enhance your efforts. In fact, if you have two minutes spare, you can use our digital marketing cost comparison tool and see what social media support is available within your budget.
They employ seasoned Instagram pros who will help save you time and money in the long run – and these services often cost much less than you think!
Or read to discover our easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide that will help you gain that highly sought-after verified account tick in no time.
Step 1: set up a business account
If you are one of Instagram’s two billion monthly users, there is no doubt you already know how the platform works.
But note that one of the fundamental rules of setting up your business on Instagram is to make sure it is set up as a business account.
This type of account is very different from the personal account you may already have.
We’ve listed some of its unique features below.Instagram business account features let you:
- Boost your posts and advertise to a target audience
- Access Instagram insights to monitor post and ad performance
- Add business info, including opening hours, location and contact methods
- Add call-to-action buttons to direct Instagram users to your website
- Sell your products in the app via the Instagram Shop functionality
Step 2: create an effective Instagram strategy
Before you run in all posts blazing, any digital marketing professional will tell you it is integral that you put together a solid Instagram strategy.
Get together with other members of your team and think carefully about:
Finding your target audience
Consider the demographic you are trying to reach. Over 60% of all Instagram users are aged between 18 and 34 years old. Think carefully about your product/brand and work out your ideal customer. What are their interests? What kind of content will most engage them? What will make them choose you over your competitors?
It is important to make use of Instagram’s insight functionality. Regularly and routinely track the performance of your posts to understand what engages your followers. Analysing engagements, click-throughs, and calls to action will help you paint a picture of what content works for you and what doesn’t.
Having goals to achieve will help keep you motivated and focused. When running a small business, it is often easy to lose sight of the marketing side of things. But setting targets will ensure you spend time on your Instagram strategy and post regularly.
Using a task/project management app
Scheduling Instagram posts is incredibly important to ensure you post consistently. Using task management apps like monday.com will make it easy to create a content schedule. Think about how frequently you want to post, and if there are any tentpole days you want to take advantage of such as Earth Day, International Women’s Day, etc.
Step 3: create captivating content
Instagram is a platform to sell your brand. If you owned a jewellery store and wanted to attract customers inside, you wouldn’t put your worst, most unattractive wares in the shop window. You would showcase your most fabulous diamond-strewn designs to entice customers.
Try to think of Instagram as the shop window for your business. You want it to look as aesthetically pleasing as possible in order to attract users. This means the content you create needs to look and feel professionally designed.
This is the most common and important method of posting content as it helps you build your brand profile aesthetic. It is important to make sure you add professional-looking photos that have been edited and sized correctly. You should post recurring themes so that your brand’s visuals are easily identifiable.
If you haven’t got the money to hire a graphic designer, Canva is an affordable, easy-to-use design tool that we would recommend you use to get started.
Instagram reels for business
Having a video marketing strategy is integral to your business’s success on Instagram. 91% of Instagram users watch videos weekly on the platform, so if you aren’t creating videos you are missing out on a great opportunity to gain new followers and turn them into paying customers.
Creating a reel is super easy and simple, but keep in mind that the videos can only be up to 60 seconds long.
You’ll have a great set of editing tools at your disposal when using Instagram reels. Use them to make engaging, fun video footage and showcase your brand.
Over 50% of Instagrammers have visited a website to buy a product or service as a result of seeing it on an Instagram story. And with more than 500 million people watching Instagram stories every day, that percentage is huge.
So in short, make sure you are posting stories regularly – this will even help you engage existing followers through the use of polls, Q&A sessions and sliding interaction bars.
It can also encourage users to visit your website, follow a brand you are collaborating with, or share a recent post you have uploaded.
Other ways to create content on Instagram include:
- Live feed – Live feeds are becoming increasingly popular on Instagram and are a great way to engage your followers because they can tune into your content in real time.
- IGTV – This is a long video format that is ideal for any recurring content series.
Step 4: optimise your profile for business
So you’ve got eye-catching content and a foolproof Instagram strategy – but is your profile ready/open for business?
Before you start growing your Instagram profile, be sure to make use of the following:
- A strong profile pic – even if it’s expensive, get yourself a professional to design you a logo for your social media accounts. The last thing you want is for users to think your pic is tacky. Remember, we make visual judgments in the first seven seconds, and this applies to Instagram too.
- A concise, intriguing bio – you only have 150 characters (just over two sentences) to show off your brand, so explain what you do succinctly and do it in your brand’s tone. Add a CTA if you have space.
- A link in your bio – unlike other social platforms, you can’t attach links to your Instagram posts, so it is incredibly important to include a link in your bio instead. Be very strategic about where this link sends people – will it be directly to your website? Or will it be to a landing page such as Linktree which allows you to share links to several pages?
- Contact information – keep email addresses and phone numbers up to date so your followers can contact you easily.
- Story highlights – organise your stories into saved collections on your profile so users can get a taste of your brand in just a few clicks.
Julaine Speight, director at award-winning digital marketing agency First Internet, offers us her advice:
“Ensure you have permanent stories on your profile, as they will provide clients and customers with key highlights and important business messaging that can be seen at a glance. This is a great way for you to promote different services or products.”
Step 5: grow your following
It’s all well and good having everything in place for your business on Instagram, but without an audience to engage with, it’s pointless.
You’ll find one of the hardest things to do on the platform is to get noticed and followed by users.
But don’t stress – there are lots of ways you can attract audiences and have followers jumping from the tens to the thousands in no time, including:
Hosting a giveaway
Lots of successful brands have gained followers by organising giveaways in the form of a competition. Typically a brand will ask Instagram users to follow an account, share a post, or comment on a post by tagging a friend. In return, users have the opportunity to win free products or services from the brand – and who doesn’t like free stuff?
Giveaways are a great way to create additional post engagement and reach a wider audience, and working in collaboration with other brands to offer extra prizes will help make the competition a huge success.
Running followers-only promotions
Another way to encourage more followers and retain existing ones is to offer exclusive sales to users that follow you. Offering flash sales and promotions gives your followers a reason to stick around in the hope of future deals.
Being proactive – respond to comments and follow target audience accounts
The more you engage with users, the more likely they are to keep following you and spreading positive feedback about your brand.
Commenting on another brand’s posts is a great way to get noticed, as is following and interacting with your competitor’s audience who will likely be interested in the same products/services that you offer.
Promoting your Instagram account on other channels
A sure-fire way to gain more followers is to let people know about your Instagram business account, particularly if you are already well established on other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
Also, be sure to include visible and clear links to your Instagram on your website and any marketing materials like newsletters or emails.
On the dangers of cutting corners when growing your audience, Petra Smith, founder of marketing consultancy Squirrels&Bears, stresses:
“Quick solutions don’t lead to long-term success. For brands that are keen to appear bigger than they are, without doing the legwork, buying new followers and artificial engagement is a common approach. But many brands are then surprised to see how quickly those followers start to disappear again.
“The reason is that followers purchased in bulk packages are either bots or inactive accounts, and Instagram continuously works on removing any follows, likes, or comments from third-party apps that are designed to artificially grow audiences and engagement.”
Step 6: use hashtags
When it comes to Instagram, it doesn’t get more important than hashtags.
Because captions on Instagram are not searchable, one of the only ways non-followers will be able to see your content is if someone clicks on or searches for a hashtag used in your content.
This is why it is important to use the right hashtags.
Philip Bacon, Director of Bacon Marketing, on hashtags:
“Like a creme egg, one hashtag is never enough. There is a fine balance on how many to add to a post. A handful of super generic ones are going to do diddly for your reach, same as maxing out at 30 on the post, not only is it crowded, it looks untidy, and it smells of desperation.
“The magic number has a three in it. 13 – 15 hashtags, a mix of high volume and niche lower volume ones will serve you well. On top of that, make them accessible by capitalising the first character of each word.”
Step 7: collaborate with influencers
Instagram is the preferred social media channel for brands engaging in influencer marketing, so you can feel confident that it is worth the effort and (sometimes) expense to collaborate with an influencer when 93% of marketers are using this strategy to grow Insta accounts.What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is the collaboration between an online influencer and a brand. The relationship typically involves the influencer marketing a brand’s product or service to their followers.
Try to find an influencer who fits the ethos of your brand, someone who epitomises your target audience is likely to have lots of followers with similar interests and outlooks so they will be more likely to purchase your product or service.
Smaller but still well-established influencers are your best bet when starting out, as you typically won’t have to pay them to collaborate. Instead, offering them free products or services in exchange for the promotion of your brand will be enough.
On working with influencers, Anna Wilson, Head of Digital Development at Tangerine Communications, says:
“An influencer partnership is at its most valuable when it feels natural and is cohesive with your brand and the influencer’s feed.
“Step 1, make sure you find the right people, either search on Instagram or use an influencer profiling tool like Klear. Step 2, make sure you don’t ‘control’ the process too tightly or the content will be overlooked/ignored. Step 3, make sure you follow the ASA guidelines (it must be labelled as sponsored content). Step 4, review it to see if it did what you set out to do.”
Step 8: advertise your business on Instagram
Growing your account organically is amazing (and doesn’t cost you a dime), but sometimes it literally pays to boost your posts.
Instagram ads are a form of paid social media, which means you can pay for your content to appear in someone else’s feed who otherwise may not have seen it.
By advertising your brand on Instagram you will be able to:
- Reach the right audience with advanced targeting – changing options such as location, age, and even interests
- Maintain higher engagement rates
- Track your Instagram campaign performance
Isobel Burns, the founder of Digital Marketing Engine, offers her insight:
“Advertising on Instagram is incredibly effective for growth and sales. The Feed tends to generate more sales, whereas Stories and Reels bring in a wider audience.
“Structure your ad campaign to be as broad at the top as possible, capturing more of the right people, and then retarget your ads in their feed with strong calls to action.”
Step 9: measure and celebrate your success
Make sure to consistently monitor Instagram’s insights to determine how well your brand is performing on the platform month on month.
Organising retro meetings to discuss what is working well and what isn’t in terms of your Instagram strategy is an efficient way to analyse important stats like engagement rates and follower growth so that you can plan for future Insta campaigns.
Most importantly, reward all of your hard work by celebrating your successes. It isn’t easy mastering the art of Instagram for business, so when you do, be sure to shout about it!
Using Instagram analytics
In short, Instagram analytics enable you to understand the overall performance of your business account, and at a more granular level, help you determine how successful your posts are.
Also known as ‘insights’, Instagram analytics are fundamental to any successful Instagram strategy as they can help you reach new audiences, improve your content strategy and target the right people.
Insta analytics give you a more detailed breakdown of important data, including the location of accounts reached, the age ranges of your followers, and even their most active times on the app.
This helps you paint a picture of the type of users that are engaging with your account. In turn, this will make it easier to plan your content strategy based on what works currently and what doesn’t.
Via Startups UK
8 Tips for Communicating With Your Angel Investors
What is one tip to improve communication between entrepreneurs and angel investors? We posed this question to small business owners and investors and asked them to share their best advice. From thinking strategically when sharing problems to keeping communication meaningful, here is how to communicate with an angel investor, and ultimately, build a stronger relationship.
1. Be strategic when sharing problems
“Never forget that your angel investors likely have expertise beyond your own, and that they’re one of the most valuable resources in your entrepreneurial journey. When you’re facing small difficulties or tough decisions, the impulse can be to hide them from investors out of fear, which can end up being a waste of their knowledge. Touching on a few strategic issues that you’re dealing with as part of your update can leverage their expertise, and can also strengthen their trust in you.
“Do be strategic about it—some problems aren’t theirs to solve—but asking for help can end up serving your business best, and can build stronger relationships with your investors.”
—Stephen Light, Nolah Mattress
2. Don’t sugarcoat it
“Angel investors get in early and do not expect perfection. They know it is going to be a learning process to determine product/market fit. Share the good news, but also the learnings and pivots. They are eager to help you brainstorm on solutions and will do introductions to make you successful. If you don’t ask for help you won’t get it.”
—Michelle Tinsley, YellowBird Holdings Inc.
3. Be precise—investors hate uncertainty
“Sometimes, entrepreneurs forget the slight difference between risk and uncertainty. While the first term is measurable, the second is not. Investors, especially business angels, put their money into innovative projects, which might seem quite insecure at first. However, it is only a misleading impression because investors’ exposure to the risk is calculated in detail.
“So my advice is simple: avoid uncertainty. But what does it mean exactly? Well, the relationship with a business angel is like talking with parents. Mom and dad don’t need to know everything about their child’s life, but they enjoy the child’s growth. The same is true when dealing with investors; they need to feel comfortable estimating their risks.
“For this, they need clear, transparent communication concerning any necessary information about a project’s progress. Therefore, it is advisable to have actual numbers that the company will regularly deliver to its business angel from the start of the partnership.”
—Tytus Golas, Tidio
4. Focus on milestones
“Send updates that are valuable to your investors. That might include things like progress on your product, growth in user engagement or acquisition, new partnerships or hires, and any significant milestones you’ve hit.”
—Claire Westbrook, LSAT Prep Hero
5. Include as much data as possible
“Investors want to see where their money is going. By providing updates containing as much data as possible, you are painting a full picture of your business and giving them the tools to figure out how to best support your business moving forward.”
—Lauren Murdock, Mainvest
6. Set frequency and method expectations
“Because investors are mostly busy people, there’s no assurance that the regularity and style of communication you prefer will work for them and their schedule. As a result, it is critical to establish clear expectations with them from the outset, such as how many times a month updates are to be sent and what type of communication will be used.
“Some may prefer to get updates by email, while others may prefer a brief phone call. Furthermore, some investors prefer to receive updates at least once a week, while others are content with only one update each month. It is critical that you hold a formal meeting to establish reasonable expectations regarding frequency and methodology so that you can devise an approach that benefits both parties and is efficient and productive.”
—David Bitton, DoorLoop
7. Send out monthly email updates
“Although a lot of angel investors are generally low maintenance, they still would love to be updated on the status of their investments. Make your investors feel recognized by sending monthly updates of how things are going. The goal is to help them understand how their investments are doing and to provide them with clear points of engagement with the CEO.
“Consistent communication is the key—a short monthly email in a clear and easy format that covers markets, products, finances, and customers will do the job. Make sure to put everything in the email body itself and not via an attachment so that the recipients can read and respond to your message easily.”
—Kris Lippi, ISoldMyHouse.com
8. Consistent outreach is a must
“Consistent outreach is one of the keys to building strong relationships with angel investors, and regular updates are never something that you want to let slide. When communication is routine and habitual, the other hallmarks of a good relationship are easier to build—trust, respect, mutual understanding—and excellent relationships with investors are crucial to growth.
“Failing to fill in angel investors is how you fail your business, because updates aren’t just a nicety, they’re a part of healthy operations. Plus, when you’re consistent, you don’t need to sit down and write an essay. When you don’t have to fill someone in on months of work, you can be brief and focused.”
—Roy Morejon, Enventys Partners
Set Yourself Up for Financial Success With a Budget Calendar
As you hopefully know, a monthly calendar is an invaluable tool for keeping track of important dates and events. Many of us even rely on calendars to keep our entire lives in order. But have you ever thought about adding your budget to your calendar?
I’m sure you know how important it is to create a budget. But, at the same time, creating a budget can be daunting. And sticking to your budget even more so. I can tell you that when I first started budgeting, I nearly gave up in frustration.
Despite this, living paycheck to paycheck is no way to live — which is valid for 7 in 10 people. It’s stressful and prevents you from achieving your goals. While a budget won’t completely resolve your financial woes, it can help. After all, you can keep track of your financial goals, track your bills, and manage your cash flow with a budget calendar.
In short, if your want is financially successful, then you need a budget calendar. And, to get you started on the right foot, here’s how to set yourself for financial success using a budget calendar.
What is a Budget Calendar?
Simply put, a budget calendar is a calendar that tracks payments and due dates. More specifically, it helps estimate how much money you have coming in and out each month. Your existing calendar, whether paper or digital, will work just fine. But, there are more than enough apps and templates designed specifically for budget calendars.
Whatever calendar you use, it should contain the following;
- Income. You should mark your calendar once you know when your next paycheck is coming, or at least when to expect it.
- Bills. Make a list of regular expenses. Examples would be rent and credit card, and cellphone bills. Don’t forget to include infrequent bills as well. These could be semiannual car insurance payments or an annual Disney Plus subscription.
- Savings contributions. Saving up for an emergency fund, vacation, or car down payment can be achieved by regularly transferring funds to an account.
Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to log small or irregular transactions as well. Even so, it may be challenging to budget every single cup of coffee or grocery bill estimate.
Why a Budget Calendar Is Important
Did you know only 30% of Americans have a long-term financial plan in place? As a result, we can stay on top of our income, save money more effectively, and ensure that our money isn’t spent exorbitantly with a budget.
Furthermore, if you want to escape living paycheck to paycheck, then having a budget is essential.
The good news? Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is finding a budgeting style that makes sense for you. You’ll be more likely to stay on track to reach your financial goals when you do that.
Choosing a budget calendar will benefit you in the following ways;
- Assess your income
- More accurately plan your spending by tracking your expenses
- Get a better grasp of your living expenses
- Identify where you can eliminate unnecessary costs
- You will be able to tackle any debt more quickly
- Make a future-oriented plan
The advantage of using calendars is that they assist you in seeing when things are due. More than a quarter of millennials had their checking accounts overdrawn, but a Calendar can be a solution to dealing with the anxiety of late payments. Your Calendar will help you to avoid late payments. And in my opinion, a calendar has a much easier learning curve than most budgeting software.
How to Make a Budget Calendar
Hopefully, you’re sold on a budget calendar because of the benefits listed above. So, how do you actually set up a Calendar for your budget? You’ll first need to choose what type of calendar to use.
You need a blank calendar, and this could just be an old-school paper calendar if you prefer. But a digital or calendar app will likely work best for you. For example, if you already use Google Calendar, you can make a separate budget calendar. You can then access that calendar whenever and wherever you please.
What Should Be Included on Your Budget Calendar
Budget calendars are helpful regardless of how you budget or the tools you use. Whatever your budgeting method, either weekly, biweekly, or monthly — here’s what should be included on your budget calendar.
Be sure to include the dates you receive your paychecks when you prepare your calendar. If you’re self-employed, and you’re unsure when your checks will arrive, a budget calendar can still be handy.
In any case, if your income fluctuates, keep a careful eye on the rest of your portfolio to understand when bills are due. It can also help you get a sense of your overall financial health. Throughout the year, you can review past calendars so you’ll know when to spend more and less money.
Write down the due date of any bill on the calendar. Monitoring your spending will help you avoid impulsive and unnecessary spending before a bill is due. More importantly, don’t forget to schedule a time in your calendar to review your bills periodically. For example, maybe you paid off a debt, or your electric bill has changed since the last time you checked.
Knowing your bills’ due dates will help you avoid common financial mistakes. For example, have you ever forgotten to pay a bill on the due date? Having your bills listed on a Calendar with an alert can also help prevent overspending since you know that you have enough to cover your fixed expenses.
Here’s another perk. I’ve noticed the majority of the monthly bills fell in the first two weeks of the month. For some people, this isn’t a big deal. But, if you have irregular income or live paycheck-to-check, this can be stressful.
When you see when each of your bills is due, you can make a plan of action—for instance, calling each company and requesting a more even distribution. You may also save a little extra every pay period if you spread your bills out so you can more easily manage other expenses such as groceries and gas.
Note the days when you automatically withdraw money from your bank account on your budget calendar. It does not matter whether this financial goal is putting money toward a retirement plan, college fund, or emergency savings. If you are not saving money regularly, you should also designate a specific day as a saving day.
Special Events and Holidays.
According to the time of year, every month will look different. Budget calendars should include special occasions, holidays, and birthdays. Putting money aside for a family dinner party or buying a gift for a baby shower will help you remember to include these expenses in your budget.
Design Elements for a Budget Calendar
By incorporating the correct design elements into your calendar, you can significantly increase the likelihood of sticking to it. In addition, visual elements can be used to make your calendars more visually appealing, as well as effective tools.
Choose the right size.
Make it easy to stick to your budget calendar by picking a size that works for you. No one size will work for everyone. For example, say you are always on the run. It might not be wise to create a huge budgeting binder that you have to lug around. Instead, a digital calendar on your phone will work better. Have something light and easy to access.
Making your budget calendar colorful can help you stay on track more easily. Why? Because specific dates and entries will pop.
Here are a few ways to color-code your calendar;
- Various paychecks. You can use different colors to identify which bills each paycheck will cover if you get paid multiple times a month.
- To categorize expenses according to their type. For example, if you’re planning to transfer money to savings, you might highlight monthly bills in one color and monthly bills in another.
- Assigning bills. If you have a partner or roommate who shares expenses, you can create a joint budget calendar and use color-coding to keep track of everyone’s responsibilities.
How to Maintain Your Budget
It can be challenging to devote consistent time to budgeting — especially if you don’t find numbers exciting. However, even if you don’t like numbers — budging doesn’t have to be troublesome.
In fact, budgeting can be a relatively easy task if you keep a calendar
Invest one afternoon or morning per month into your budget. Preferably, this would be on the days that you get paid, such as on the first or fifteenth of the month. A calendar review with each paycheck enables you to adjust and adapt accordingly.
Regardless of the exact day, it’s easier to maintain a budget calendar if you have a set date. If possible, plan for a month in advance, but even more, is better.
If you’re using a digital calendar or app, then you can set reminders so that you won’t forget. You can, for instance, create a recurring calendar reminder for payday so you don’t forget to review your budget. To stay on top of your budget calendar, you can also use calendar reminders. Remember, follow-through is key to making your plan successful.
Do I Need a Budget Calendar?
Maybe you don’t have to have a budget Calendar — however, a budget is essential. I applaud you if you can manage your money in your head, but very few people can budget in their heads — even if they are good at math. While at that same time putting money away for a vacation, retirement fund, emergency savings, or just for fun is beneficial to your best self.
But remember it’s crucial to figure out how to manage your money to suit your needs. One tool that might be useful to you is a budget calendar. If you want to live well and reach your goals you must have some sort of budget, whether you keep track of the numbers in your head or on a budget calendar — or have your tax person handle this for you.
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