Budgeting is something that often fills people with dread, but we’ve never been able to really pinpoint why. Of course, we do get letters from all of our readers. They talk about how they know they should budget, but they still never do it. They just go from month to month, blindly paying bills and following some sort of unspoken set of rules. It’s better to have a plan every month for where your money’s going. After all, it’s your money and it’s up to you to protect it as well as help it grow. Money can’t do anything without your decision making process being involved. In other words, if you want your money to grow then you’re going to have to look at your budget very carefully.
Since summer is giving way to fall, we thought it would be a great time to look at setting up a budget, as well as smarter money management tricks.
So, what should you do first? Well, it’s time to take a real inventory of how things are going. Have you noticed more use of credit cards instead of cash in your bank account? This might be a warning flag that your spending is out of control. It’s time to clip back spending by making better decisions. Do you need to make that sale, or are you just trying to do it in order to fit in with your friends? Trying to keep up with your mates is a big reason why you could be in serious financial trouble.
Another point that you want to look at would be how much money you’re actually making. Have you been stuck at the same salary for a while? It might be time to see if you can find a different job. That doesn’t mean that you have to find a different company. Some people might be eligible for a promotion without even realizing it. If they make it sound like they’re not interested in moving up, they won’t get the job they ultimately want.
Make sure that you are looking at your expenses. Which ones are essential and which ones can you do without? You might not have to go watch TV or go out to see movies, but if those are things that make you happy it’s highly unlikely you’ll get rid of them. But what about uglier habits like smoking? Smoking is something that definitely eats up your money. If you want an alternative that still lets you get your smoking fix, why not switch over to e-cigarettes? They are cost effective and still have nicotine.
Surround yourself with positive people that pride themselves on sticking to a budget. Do you want to go on holiday? Once or twice a year might be a good thing, but trying to leave every month may be out of your budget.
Setting a budget is about looking at your goals. Which goals do you have every month? How hard will it be to achieve them? What will you have to sacrifice now in order to get to a long term goal later? These are all great questions to think about as you build out your budget.
Some people like to revisit a budget every month, so that they can adjust things based off how well things went the previous month. Other people like to be able to just float for a few months before going back to their budget. The longer timeframe your budget covers, the more events that you need to keep in mind.
Overall, there are plenty of great points to make about budgeting. As long as you’re starting from the beginning with a good system and the desire to be consistent, there’s no reason why you can’t hit all of your goals!