WAYS TO MAKE ANY BUDGET WORK FOR YOU
(EVEN IF YOU'RE NEW TO BUDGETING)
Ask 20 people you know if they have a budget in place.
Most, if not all, will say yes.
Now ask them if their budget is working and if they’re getting closer to their goals, and see how many will give you a guilty grin on their face, knowing all too well their budget never actually worked.
That’s the harsh truth of budgeting.
Many of us get stuck up on creating the ‘Perfect Budgeting System’ worrying that whatever they have just won’t work. But it’s not the budget that is the problem. It’s the mindset and implementation.
Quick Solution: Set up the simplest budget you can right now and follow these tips to make it work, regardless if it’s your first time, or if you’ve started and ended many budget systems before:
1. Learn as You Go
Budgeting, especially if you’re in it for the long haul, is a constant education. The key is accepting that you can’t have the perfect budget but you can make adjustments as you go. As you start budgeting, you will slowly see how your paycheck lasts, track what your actual monthly expenses are and so on. From this, you can make adjustments that can help steer you in the right direction.
2. Have some Wiggle Room
Working on a strictly tight budget can cause some unnecessary stress. Imagine having to constantly worry about an extra dollar or two whenever you encounter unexpected expenses.
To have some wiggle room, set a budget that has a bit of extra in your expected expenses where you can take some when in need. Not only that, but you need to be willing to sacrifice some of your regular expenses for more important ones for emergency cases.
3. Stay Positive!
To have some wiggle room, your income must be more than your expenses. Monitor your income and expenses closely and make adjustments. Be honest with yourself and identify which expenses you can live without and eliminate it, or if possible, find a way to increase your income.
Once you have more than enough wiggle room, consider making investments that can further increase your income.
4. Pay Yourself First
Even on a tight budget while paying your debt, it’s important that you save money for your own to slowly prepare yourself to be financially independent in the near future. Before you pay anyone else, pay yourself first.
Even a small, consistent amount will do.
This may be a concept that’s hard to swallow but your future self and family will thank you for it.
5. Conduct a Regular Review
Regularly assess your budget, be it monthly, bi-monthly, or even weekly. This will help you identify opportunities for improvements and prevent risks of being stuck in a limbo of failing and compensating.
At the same time, the more exposed you are to your budget, the less likely you will slip up and forget about it.
6. You are in Command of your Happiness
Many people want to run a tight ship when starting out. They impose their budget on themselves and their family so strictly they avoid spending a penny for a bit of fun. But the pressure that will build up caused by repression will be strong eventually that they won’t be able to control it when it hit. And worse, it can destroy whatever system they already have.
Allow yourself to breathe, to smile, and to have fun. This way, you’ll get a taste of what you’re trying to achieve with your budget.
Budgeting can be intimidating. They key is to start small, and be consistent. Your efforts will slowly snowball and before you know it, your budget system will be engrained in your brain that you won’t even have to think about it.
But it all starts with the first step.
We can help you take the leap and get a head start. Contact us today to get assistance in creating and managing your budget.