Starting a budget is not easy.
It can feel almost like a punishment. The consequence of not being more “financially responsible” in the past.
Even the word budget is seen as a “dirty word”, as a restriction of sorts, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Once you change your mindset around what it truly means to start using a budget in your home, you will see how great it can really be!
A successful budget will…
- not feel like a punishment
- prepare you for emergencies
- give you peace of mind
- open your eyes to your regular spending habits
- provide you with security in the future
- change the way you see money!
Seeing the value in starting a budget is the only way you will be successful in sticking to it. So if you can’t at least see the potential of all of the points above…don’t waste your time!
It wont benefit anyone, and will probably sour you on budgets even more, so don’t rush in!
Starting a budget can seem a bit daunting at first. There is a lot of preparation, but know that once you’ve got it set, that’s it! You can tweak it here and there down the road as you get comfortable with it, but the hard work will be out of the way!
5 Tips For Starting A Budget
Budget Tip #1-Be realistic!
Don’t lie to yourself when you start setting your budget goals. If you know you spend $120 a week on groceries, don’t set your budget for $75 a week.
If you know for a fact you will continue to spend $20 a week on coffee from your favorite coffee shop, don’t cut that out, or you will end up $20 short of your goal every week and “wont know why”!
Budget Tip #2-Look Back to Plan For The Future!
Review your bank statements, bills, credit card statements, etc. for the last 3 months (at minimum the last 30 days) and get exact numbers of monthly payments, as well as where your money is going on a daily basis!
This can usually be a bit of a shocker for some people that haven’t been tracking their expenses in the past, so be prepared for a bit of an eye opener, and work with it!
Budget Tip #3-Keep It Simple!
If your budget is complicated, you wont stick to it, plain and simple!
Plan your expenses, set up automatic debt repayment plans, and use your calendar to know where you are in the month, and where your money should be going.
Ideally, use cash! Physically having your grocery budget for the month in your wallet not only prevents you from overspending, but actually encourages you to spend less, since subconsciously money is harder to part with when you’re not just swiping a card.
Budget Tip #4-Live Within Your Means!
This should probably go without saying, but you need to make sure you are spending less than you make, or the debt cycle will continue! Obviously you will have your “non-negotiables”, the expenses that will not change month to month (ie mortgage/rent, car payment, insurance, savings, etc), so those are a must.
Next will be your “flexible expenses” (ie groceries, gas, clothing, etc.) which are needed in the budget, but can be worked with a little to fit your budget.
If there is still room, this is where your “fun money” would come from. This can be hard to put last on the list, you worked hard for your money and you deserve to enjoy it, right? Just know that temporarily scaling back will mean financial freedom in the future!
Budget Tip #5-Give It Time!
Give your budget time to start working, at least 30 days, and if it’s not working for you, change it! A budget isn’t written in stone, it’s simply a tool to open your eyes to where your money is going, as well as the possibilities of what could be!
Follow these budgeting tips, and before you know it you will be in command of your finances…and your life!
Do you use a budget in your house? How do you stay on track?
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