Budgeting 101

Whether you’re saving for the future or just need to know where all your money is going, budgeting effectively can help. As an essential aspect of personal finance, budgeting is important for everyone because it can help you reach your financial goals, regardless of how much money you have now.

Creating and maintaining a budget has many benefits including better financial security, a higher credit score, and less debt. But how do you create an effective budget to reach your financial goals? Keep reading and find out our top budgeting tips!

Budgeting 101

Create a Monthly Budget

In order to know exactly how much money you’re receiving and spending each month, the first thing you need to do is create a monthly budget. Begin by adding up all the money you receive each month from things like jobs, side work, child support, and any other source. For jobs, be sure to use your after-tax pay, as this is what you can actually spend.

The next step is to list out and add up all your monthly expenses. This part can seem challenging if you have never created a budget before. To start, gather all your monthly bills, bank statements, and credit card statements, and list everything you spend money on, along with the monthly amount spent on each item. The personal finance experts at Credit.org recommend tracking these expenses:

  • Housing – mortgage, rent, insurance
  • Utilities – electricity, gas, water, sewage
  • Car – car payment, insurance, gas
  • Loans – credit card bills, student loans
  • Amenities – phone, internet, subscriptions
  • Medical – medical bills, health insurance
  • Necessities – household products, clothing
  • Groceries – food, pet food
  • Entertainment – dining out, activities, gifts
  • Miscellaneous – unknown expenses

Now that you’ve added in your monthly expenses, you need to account for any quarterly, bi-annual, and annual expenses you have. Since you don’t pay these expenses monthly, you have to save for them throughout the year to ensure you have enough money to pay them. For example, if you pay your home insurance once per year, divide the total amount by 12 and add it to your monthly budget, and be sure to save the correct amount each month!

Now that you’ve listed and calculated your total income and expenses, you need a way to track them. Using a spreadsheet, notebook, or whatever you’re most comfortable with, make a chart that lists all income on one side and all expenses on the other side. Add up the total amount for each and then subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly income. If you have extra money each month after paying your expenses, that would be great to put in savings. If you don’t have enough money to cover your monthly expenses, you will need to lower your expenses or increase your income.

Needs vs Wants

As you list out all the things you spend money on, thinking about each item and determining if it’s a need or a want is essential to maintaining an effective budget. You can easily tell the difference between the two categories because needs are things you actually need to live, such as housing, clothing, and food. Wants are things that you don’t actually need, but are nice to have, such as entertainment, dining out, and vacations.

One important reason to categorize your expenses into needs and wants, is that if you have to lower your expenses, you will have to reduce your wants.

Track Your Actual Spending

After creating your monthly budget, you will need to track your actual spending moving forward. This allows you to identify whether or not you’re spending within your budget, and lets you know if any changes need to be made.

The quickest and easiest way to do this is with free software like Mint, which is a budget planner and spending tracker. If you prefer, you can also manually review your bank and credit card statements on a monthly basis to calculate your actual spending.

Now that you have your monthly budget and are tracking your actual spending, you will need to compare the two on a monthly basis to determine if you need to make adjustments to either. As an example, if you find you are spending more on eating out than you budgeted for, you may need to decrease the number of times per month that you go to restaurants.

Save for Your Future

Starting a savings account that you add to regularly is important for your future needs and wants. Investing in your education, going on your dream vacation, and buying your first home are all great goals for your savings.

To make saving easier for you, look at it like it’s a bill that you’re paying to your future self. Decide on the exact amount that you want to save each month and add it to your monthly budget.

Put Your Career On the Fast Track

With your budget created, you’re now ready to invest in your future! At Boardman Training Center, we offer fast track career training programs to get you in your dream healthcare career quickly. Learn more about our Phlebotomy Technician, EKG Technician, Cardio Phlebotomy, and Medical Office Specialist programs and get started today!

Erika Norris – Student Highlight

We are excited to announce our student highlight feature for this week, Erika Norris!

Erika Norris-Student Highlight

Like many Boardman Training Center students, Erika wants a career that allows her to make a difference and help people in their daily lives, but she doesn’t want to spend 4-6 years in school taking unnecessary classes to get there.

This led Erika to BTC, because she needed a fast track career training program that prepares her for what she’ll be doing when she graduates.

“I choose BTC because I want to be in the medical field. I want to help people and BTC helps me do that without all the extra time and money for classes I don’t need,” said Erika.

Before enrolling with BTC, Erika was just working in a job, not in a career field that she loves. Erika said she choose the Cardio Phlebotomy program because “in 24 quick weeks, I could be doing something I love.”

Erika had previously attended college at a larger university, which left her feeling a little lost. “I have gone to college before and it wasn’t for me honestly. Most of my classes were too big, with too much going on, and a lot of classes I didn’t need,” said Erika.

Erika Norris-Student Highlight

Erika said her favorite part of attending Boardman Training Center is the hands-on experience. Her favorite class is Phlebotomy, where she is learning valuable skills she will use in her career. So far, Erika said her favorite teacher is Mike.

After completing her career training program at BTC, Erika hopes to become a Phlebotomist, helping one patient at a time, and to continue growing in her career for years to come.

When asked if she would refer Boardman Training Center to a friend, Erika happily said yes! “I absolutely would. The people here have been nothing but nice to me and really want to see everyone succeed,” said Erika.

Are you ready to start down the path toward a meaningful career just like Erika? Then check out Boardman Training Center today! With small class sizes, personalized attention, and flexible payment plans, we set our students up for continued career success.

Learn more about our fast-track healthcare programs including Phlebotomy Technician, EKG Technician, Cardio Phlebotomy, and Medical Office Specialist. Request information or call us at (330) 729-9244 to get started today!

Eileen Syfert – Student Highlight

Meet Eileen Syfert, our student highlight for the week at Boardman Training Center!

Have you ever felt like you wanted a more fulfilling career, one that allows you to really make a difference and help people? This is exactly how Eileen felt before deciding to begin fast track career training at BTC.

Eileen Syfert

After helping her grandfather for a year, it sparked Eileen’s interest to work in the medical field and do something worthwhile with her career.

Additionally, Eileen traveled to Europe for three months and visited Norway and Sweden. This was a great experience and gave her some time to reflect, which really put things into perspective for her. Eileen knew she felt lost in her career but didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do.

Before enrolling with Boardman Training Center, Eileen attended a community college for criminal justice and worked for a criminal defense attorney as a legal assistant, but she didn’t like sitting at a desk all day and wanted something that would allow her to get up and move around more.

“I choose BTC because I wanted a new, more fulfilling career, and everyone here was extremely helpful, positive, and encouraging,” said Eileen. After coming to the Boardman Training Center campus and meeting with Nikki, BTC Admissions Advisor, Eileen realized there was nothing stopping her from enrolling in school, and she signed up the very next day.

Eileen chose the Cardio Phlebotomy program at BTC as a way to break into the healthcare field.

“I thought the programs here would be the perfect introduction into the healthcare field. I felt like I could make a difference and have more purpose at work,” said Eileen.

So far, phlebotomy has been Eileen’s favorite class. She says that drawing blood is exciting and a nice balance of challenging and fun.

When asked what her favorite part of attending fast track training classes at BTC is, Eileen said, “I love that I feel valued and heard as a student. Anytime I have an issue, the instructors go above and beyond to help me overcome the issue.”

Eileen says she feels a sense of belonging at Boardman Training Center and has already recommended the school to others. One person has already signed up and will be starting classes soon!

Are you ready to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare field where you get to help people and make a difference every day? Boardman Training Center offers fast track career programs to get you into your dream job in just weeks. Call (330) 729-9244 or request information now to get started!

How to Dress for Success

We’ve all heard the saying, dress for the job you want, not the job you have, but how can you actually do this? How can you dress to ensure you make a great first impression to get your dream job?

Your appearance begins to speak for you from the moment you meet someone new, even before you have said anything. People notice things about your appearance, such as the clothes you’re wearing and your hairstyle, and make assumptions about you based on them.

So how can you ensure you’re dressing for success and making an awesome first impression? Keep reading as we share our top tips with you!

Dress for the Company Culture

Every company has its own unique culture and follows a different dress code. It’s best to align yourself with each specific company’s culture and dress code anytime you are meeting or interviewing with them. This helps to show that you’re a good fit. As an example, if you have a job interview with a bank, wear a suit because the banking industry follows a more formal dress code than others.

Spend some time researching a company’s dress code before a meeting or interview, so you can dress to impress! Here are some of the most common dress codes used today:

  • Business Formal – Formal suits, solid color ties, button-up shirts, dress shoes, and dark colors are all common as part of the most formal dress code.
  • Business Professional – Dress pants, professional skirts, sports jackets, patterned ties, and nice shirts are all great for this dress code, as it allows you to wear more color.
  • Business Casual – Shirts with colors and patterns, skirts in different colors, khakis, polos, vests, and sweaters are all great for adding more personality to your look in this dress code.
  • Casual – T-shirts, jeans, skirts, sweaters, sandals, and sneakers are all acceptable in this dress code because it’s the most informal, allowing for many outfit choices.

To show your professionalism and make a great first impression, always dress up for meetings and interviews, even if a company follows a more casual dress code.

Dress for the Specific Event

Depending on the type of career event you’re going to, it can require different outfit choices. When dressing for a job interview, always wear professional attire, as this can give you an advantage over other candidates. Wearing clothing from the business professional dress code, keeping jewelry and fragrance to a minimum, and rocking a clean, neat hairstyle are all great tips for interviews. With only one chance to make a great first impression, you have to make it count!

In today’s digital world, interviews are often held over video with Skype or a similar program. You must still dress up and look your professional best for a video interview because the person interviewing you will be able to see at least the top half of you via the video. Be sure to wear business clothes with a professional hairstyle.

When attending things like networking events and career fairs, it’s essential to look your best here as well. The people you meet could be hiring directly or could refer you to other opportunities, so do your best to make a great first impression.

Dress for Success Tips

For students and new graduates just starting their professional careers, dressing for success can be overwhelming and challenging. Not currently having a professional wardrobe and being unsure of what is workplace appropriate are common issues. Check out these tips to get you started:

  • Shop strategically and purchase clothes you can wear many ways.
  • Wear more solid colors in your clothing choices.
  • Dress in clothing that is appropriate for the workplace.
  • Accessorize with minimal jewelry.
  • Hide piercings and tattoos, because you want people focused on how great you are, not thinking about what your tattoo means.
  • Wear hair in a clean, neat, and professional style.
  • Keep perfume or cologne minimal, as others could be allergic.
  • Wear makeup that looks natural and professional.

If you’re ever unsure of how to dress to make a great first impression, think about this quote from Oscar Wilde: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”

Put Your Career on The Fast Track

Now you’ll make an awesome first impression on everyone you meet by dressing for success!

At Boardman Training Center, we offer fast-track training and certification programs to get you into your dream healthcare career. Learn more about our Cardio Phlebotomy, EKG Technician, Phlebotomy Technician, and Medical Office Specialist programs and request information now to get started!

How to Create Your Personal Brand

Your personal brand can help you get noticed and put your career on the fast track, but how do you create an awesome personal brand?

With personal branding, you have the opportunity to create and maintain a specific image of yourself. Just like companies brand themselves to be known for things like providing a great customer experience or having great products, you can brand yourself to be known for anything you want.

Organizations all around the world have been utilizing the power of branding for many years, and a great example is Apple. Have you ever thought about why you know it’s an Apple commercial, even before you see the logo? Or that feeling you get when walking into an Apple store? Or why products made by Apple always have the same look and feel? You know your having an Apple brand experience, even before seeing the logo, because they have branded themselves so well.

How to Create Your Personal Brand

You can use this same power of branding to advance into your dream career, but how do you do it? Read on as we share our five steps to creating a strong personal brand!

Step 1: Align your personal brand with your professional goals

In order to create an awesome personal brand, the first thing you must do is decide exactly what you want your personal brand to be. This will be your brand identity and figuring it out is an important first step because everything else will be built on it.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to figure out exactly what your personal brand should be:

  • Why are you creating a personal brand?
  • What are your professional goals?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are your strengths?

After answering these questions, you should have a good idea of what you want your personal brand to be. For example, if you’re a student trying to break into the medical field, some of your answers could be to start your career in healthcare and become known as an expert in your local medical community.

Step 2: Choose your platforms

Due to the growth of mobile devices and social media, personal branding is easier now more than ever. We can all create and promote our personal brands from anywhere, at any time. With so many options, it can be a challenge to decide which specific social platforms to use. Should you start with Facebook or Instagram? Or are LinkedIn and Twitter the better choices?

To decide which social platforms to use when creating your personal brand, you need to answer this one question: Who do you want to see your brand and which social channels do they use?

For this step, it’s really that easy. As an example, if you’re a medical student who wants potential employers to see your personal brand, then Facebook and LinkedIn are where you should be.

Step 3: Network with other professionals

After you know what your personal brand is going to be and which channels to focus on, the next step is networking and starting to build relationships with others. The best way to begin is by following people and accounts relevant to your field. Commenting when you have something relevant to add and liking their posts are great ways to continue building these relationships online.

Local healthcare leaders, potential employers, industry organizations, and medical experts are all great examples of people to follow. Feel free to share their posts, as long as they align with your personal brand. For example, if a potential employer shares a relevant blog post, you can share it to your page too.

Step 4: Share your knowledge and expertise

Showcasing your knowledge and expertise by sharing content on your chosen social media channels is the best way to build your personal brand. Some examples of great content to share are photos, videos, infographics, articles, status updates, and story posts.

When creating content, consider your audience and the things they would be interested in or want to see. For our medical student example, photos and videos of hands-on skills like performing EKGs or taking vital signs would be perfect content to share.

Step 5: Be yourself

When creating your personal brand and working to advance your career, always remember to be yourself! Even on social media, people connect with other people who are genuine and authentic, so let your great personality shine through.

Put Your Career On The Fast Track

Now that you’ve created your personal brand, take the next step toward your career with healthcare training from Boardman Training Center. Request information now to get started!

Tamarra Royal – Student Highlight

Meet Tamarra, our featured student for the week!

Tamarra Royal

Tamarra is enrolled in the Phlebotomy Technician and Medical Office Specialist programs at Boardman Training Center. She started at BTC in November of 2018 and has loved her experience so far.

Before starting at BTC, Tamarra worked in the restaurant industry, living paycheck-to-paycheck with no real goals. She eventually got tired of this and realized she wanted a career and not just a job.

Looking for a change in her life that would lead to a better future with a great career, and not just a job, Tamarra decided to enroll at BTC, where smaller class sizes and one-on-one attention from faculty enable students to succeed.

“I wanted to do something in the medical field, and this was the perfect stepping stone,” said Tamarra.

Tamarra previously attended another college for a short time and found it to be too stressful while working and going to school. She wanted a program with more personalized attention and flexibility.

“My favorite part of attending BTC so far has been the people and the experience. The program is super flexible so I can work, I know exactly when exams are, and I enjoy utilizing Google Classroom,” said Tamarra. “Nikki, Steven, and Dave are my favorites and I can’t choose between them!”

Tamarra loves that her phlebotomy and medical office programs are straight to the point and that she can take the exact classes she needs in order to graduate sooner.

She also loves the personalized attention she receives from instructors. “If you’re holding the needle wrong, the teacher will stop you and show you exactly how to do it correctly.”

Tamarra highly recommends Boardman Training Center and has referred friends and family to train for medical careers at BTC. The chance for a better future, no longer living paycheck-to-paycheck, not as may crazy hours, and more time to spend with family are just a few of the benefits of BTC she has shared with others.

Ready to invest in your future by training for a great career? Learn more about our Phlebotomy Technician and Medical Office Specialist programs today!