Smart Money Podcast: ‘How Should I Prioritize My Budget?’

Sean Pyles
By Sean Pyles 
Edited by Kathy Hinson

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Welcome to episode one of NerdWallet's Smart Money podcast! Your hosts, Dayana Yochim and Sean Pyles, answer your real-world money questions with the help of NerdWallet's in-house financial experts, so you can work toward your goals faster and manage your money smarter.

On this week's episode, Dayana and Sean talk to NerdWallet writer Courtney Jespersen about how to decide what to do with your money — what should come first, tools you can use and how to still have room for fun stuff in your budget.

Takeaway tips

Figure out where your money is going. This helps you see what your financial priorities are, whether that's saving for a tropical vacation, catching up with friends over drinks or trying out the latest video game.

Give yourself time to think before hitting the buy button. For purchases that aren't clear necessities, put them in your online cart, and then come back a few hours or a day later to decide whether you actually want them, need them or can do without them. (If you do end up buying, waiting a little bit might trigger some retailers to send you a coupon to nudge you toward purchasing.)

Go on an all-cash cleanse. If you feel like you've been spending a little bit too freely, try switching to paying only with cash for a week to get yourself back to mindful spending.

Use the 50/30/20 budget to make sure your needs are covered (50%), you leave enough room to have some fun (30%), but are saving enough to cover emergencies and plan for long-term goals (20%).

More about budgeting

Send us your questions! Email us at [email protected]. You can also text or leave us a voice message at 901-730-6373 (that's 901-730-NERD).