Budgets often get a bad rap. Because they require planning and involve the use of numbers, many people simply avoid using them. Only when they find themselves in some type of financial trouble do they consider the value gained by budgeting far exceeds spending a small amount of time putting a budget together.
If you don’t know what is coming in and what is going out, how will you be able to manage your personal finances? The short answer is that you can’t… even if you think that you can just wing it, reality almost always comes back and corrects our thinking.
A budget can put order in your life, allow you to manage your finances, and help pay down debt or save for a large purchase. Getting a budget set up takes some time, but once you have the framework put together maintaining the budget only requires a short amount of time each month.
When you put together your budget, keep in mind these few ideas.
Keep it simple. There are lots of products out there that claim to track every little detail and automate your entire financial life. Most of these just over complicate things and don’t provide the value that a simple approach does.
Make it realistic. If you are just starting out don’t try and put a budget together than has you squeezing every last dime from your expenses. As they say, this is not a sprint it is a marathon.
Keep it balanced. Include both short-term and long term goals into your financial budget. You may have some very real issues that you are focusing on that need to be dealt with now, but keep in mind that you are also planning for the future.
Reward yourself. Don’t forget to take the time to celebrate when you reach your goals. All work and no play is no fun. Focus, work hard, and then give yourself a small reward for your efforts.
Research shows that most successful people plan, this includes planning their personal finances as well. If you don’t have a budget and are struggling with getting your spending under control, learn more about how a budget can help you achieve your goals.
There is a saying that goes “you can’t fix what you can’t measure”. This means that if you can determine how much money you have coming in, how much is going out, and where it is going, you won’t be able to create a solution to improve your finances.