Make budgeting your priority

BUDGETS aren’t just a tool for big businesses and organizations; YMCA Calgary’s Chief Financial Officer Sabina Lokanc explains how you could benefit too.

“We are currently beginning our 2013 budget process at YMCA Calgary.  Budgeting is a critical process for us as it creates a roadmap to the financial goal we expect to reach for the year.

“While we are a charitable organization, break-even is not an acceptable goal because we have to plan for future capital expenditures related to our facilities as well as any future development opportunities that may arise.  Creating a plan, keeps us focused on the end goal.

“Monitoring our performance against budget on a monthly basis allows us to evaluate how well we are doing in reaching our year-end target and to react to unforeseen circumstances in a timely fashion.”

Sabina explained that budgeting is a useful tool for managing personal finances as well. Just breaking even each month doesn’t allow for the unexpected or for large expenditures like a house down payment or a new car. And it’s never too early to plan for retirement!

The key to setting any budget is establishing priorities. Sabina continued: “We identify our priorities at the Y in order to operate within our means and still reach our overall objectives.  This holds true personally as well.  I enjoy travelling and take a trip every year. Planning for this ensures that I have the funds available for this specific purpose.”

Financial Tip #1:  Maintain a personal budget that reflects your income, expected expenses, planned savings and investments.  Monitor your actual expenses against your planned expenses to ensure that you are on track.  A Certified Financial Planner can work with you to plan for large future purchases and for retirement.



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