I have a question for you. Do you feel like you have control over your money, or does it have control over you? Many people don’t even realize that they’re spending way more than they earn. I was also guilty of this, and used my credit cards to supplement my bad money habits. As you guys know from my last few posts, money definitely had its control over me up until recently. Thankfully I was able to make necessary adjustments and flip the script! I believe that my monthly budget has given me the ability to do so. It wasn’t easy, but I am confident that I’ve mastered my budget and I’m certain you can do the same.
What is a Budget?
Simply put, a budget is an estimate of your income and expenses over a specified period of time. Think of it as a way of telling your money where to go (or spend plan), by assigning your income to necessary “expense” buckets. Budgets help you ensure that you have enough money for the things you need by determining in advance whether you have enough money to do all the things you’d like to do. Further, budgets are a necessity, no matter what your income level is, because they are instrumental in making your financial goals a reality.
You don’t need to be a math expert to budget. You also don’t need to deprive yourself. These are all misconceptions. Budgets are really what you make them. Don’t make things complicated, they really don’t have to be. In fact, budgets take many forms and I think there’s something for everyone depending on your own personal needs, preferences, and lifestyle.
Personally for me, I prefer using the zero-based budget each month. The goal with this budget is to have your income and expenses equal out so that they equal zero. Although this method requires a bit more attention to detail, it’s the type of budget that I prefer at the moment, because it allows me to meet my financial goals (debt elimination) much faster and effectively than the others. However, as time goes on and my financial goals change I’m perfectly fine with switching it up!
Why You Should Budget
Budgeting is great because it gives your money a purpose. When you give your money a purpose, you’re less willing to waste it on frivolous things. In my “How to Improve Your Relationship With Money” post, I revealed that when I was younger I was living rent free, getting paid about $200 weekly without a care in the world. That’s right, I made at least $10,000 a year (again with no bills) for about 3 years and have nothing to show for it! A budget never crossed my mind! I literally cringe at the thought of all the money I’ve wasted during that time. But hey you live and you learn!
Please don’t be like me! If you don’t budget, I fear that you’re sabotaging yourself. I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes at the mere thought of budgeting. You may think that you don’t make enough money to budget, or on the flipside, you don’t think it’s necessary because you’re doing pretty well for yourself. Whatever your endgame is: college tuition, homeownership, retirement planning, traveling, investing, or getting out of debt it all starts with having a budget.
How to Create a Budget
- Determine your WHY – This will keep you on track when you feel aggravated or unmotivated.
- Assess your current spending habits – Review your bank statements. How much money are you spending on things you don’t need?
- Identify your financial goals – That way when you’re creating your budget, you’re making decisions that will help you meet this goals. Think of your savings, retirement goals for example.
- Take a seat, pour some wine and get prepared! – It’s really not bad I promise lol but why not enjoy some wine?
- Choose your budgeting method and follow it – Are you rocking with the envelope system? Zero-based? Or 50/30/20?
- Automate, automate, AUTOMATE your savings – No matter what method you choose, you always need to pay yourself first! Saving should never be an afterthought. Doesn’t matter if it’s $5 or $500, PAY YOURSELF FIRST.
- Check in – Track progress throughout the month
And there you have it! That wasn’t so bad right? If you still are looking for some extra resources you’re in luck! I created a FREE monthly budget that you can use. You can download it here. Happy budgeting!