No, I’m not going to curse! The word is simple: BUDGET.
I think it’s a great word. I actually don’t dread this word at all. I have learned that Budget has become like a member of the family. I have a husband, 2 kids, a dog, and Budget. We talk about him so frequently that it does feel like he’s a part of the Sparks’ household.
Having a budget showed us that we actually had $1K extra per month. We never would have realized this without our little friend, the Budget.
At this point, you might be asking yourself…
WHAT IS A BUDGET
To me, a budget is just a simple way to organize all of your thoughts on paper. Yes, I said paper. If you have never budgeted before then you don’t need some fancy computer program. I believe in just sitting down, planning a budget on paper, and using a pencil with a HUGE eraser (you’ll need it).
This is a small portion of our budget:
PAY PERIOD __________ INCOME ____________________
Emergency Fund _________
Electricity _________ Phone _______ Cable/Internet ________
HOW TO WORK THE BUDGET
The whole purpose of even having a budget is to give every dollar a name. It’s not saying that you can’t spent money and that you shouldn’t have fun with your money.
The budget just makes sure that you are paying necessities first before you start going all over town blowing money only to realize that you don’t have enough left for food. So, then what? Take out a credit card and put food on the credit card? At least that’s what we always did.
Now we don’t have to do that. As soon as we get paid we already have a plan.
Your budget should always end at ZERO. You shouldn’t have $20 left over at the end of your budget. You didn’t give that $20 a name. Put it somewhere on a line item. Don’t just leave him hanging out there only to be spent and then wondering where he went.
A zero-based budget is the only way to go!
HERE’S WHAT A BUDGET CAN DO FOR YOU
Having a budget helps to hold you accountable. It’s like having your own accountability partner right there in the house with you.
It can also make you breathe easier and sleep better at night knowing that everything is already lined out. When you wake up the next morning to check your bank account, the money has already been spent (on paper).
There are no surprises when it comes to a budget. If there is something that you weren’t planning on paying for, then just take it out of the emergency fund. It’s that simple!
Let me put it to you simply like this…When Greg and I were first married we were making $75K, living in an apartment, with no kids. To this day, I cannot tell you where that money went. We were living paycheck to paycheck (like most Americans) and were spending out more than we were bringing in. Don’t let this happen to you!
What questions do you have regarding a budget? Please feel free to ask in the comments section.
If you need a budget that works for you, then feel free to read about what I offer as a coach. I am currently helping singles, a college student, and a married couple get out of debt as quickly as possible so that they can start having fun with their money and look towards the future. You can read more about what a coach does here and also check out my coaching packages.Read More
Do you set goals for your life? I am not much of a goal setter, but after reading books like Platform and Entreleadership I’m getting better at telling myself that goals are great. Setting goals gives you something to work towards and when you have accomplished a goal you feel absolutely amazing.
Here are some ways that I came up with to help you set some financial goals for this upcoming fiscal year. Please feel free to add to my list if you think I left something off.
1. PUT IT IN WRITING
Always put your goals in writing. Be strategic in how you write them out. Don’t just jot something down on paper late at night. Really search your heart and spend time in prayer thinking about what your goals really are.
The great thing about having it written on paper is that you have something to go back to and look at. Then you can see what you have accomplished. What a great feeling!
2. MAKE IT SIMPLE
If you are new to goal setting (like me) then start by making it simple. Your goals don’t have to be anything big and elaborate. They are your goals. You’re not writing to an audience that you have to try and impress.
If you start off making it too difficult you will probably give up the idea completely. If things are seeming too hard and you get overwhelmed, than just put it down for a few hours and come back to it later. Sometimes my problem is that I just don’t know where to start. Once I let it go and think about it for a few days then all these ideas start flooding my mind.
3. DREAM BIG!
I’ve been reading the book Boys Should Be Boys by Dr. Meg Meeker. In the book she talks about how when children are little we love listening to them use their imagination and make up these big, elaborate stories.
Things change when they grow up. We often dash their dreams telling them that they need to quit daydreaming and get back to work. We make them focus on the things that we deem important and not what they see as a child.
So, even as a adult you can maintain this idea of dreaming big. So what if it seems too far-fetched to be real. It’s your goals…your dreams.
4. HIT THE TARGET
Keep the focus. Don’t get side-tracked from your goals. When I write a goal down I always have to hang it up somewhere so that I can see it. If I can’t see it, then I for sure will not follow through with it.
Hit the target by staying on the track.
5. WHERE TO START
What do you want to accomplish today financially? Maybe you’re tired of having overdrafts so you want to do something today to change that.
What can you do this week to help pay all of your bills on time? How can you better prepare yourself for emergencies when they appear?
Set a goal and stick with it. The best goal we ever set for ourselves was when we said “We will be debt free this year!”. We worked hard, but we accomplished that goal and you can accomplish yours as well.
Please share a financial goal that you are going to set for yourself? Tell us how you were able to meet that goal.