The following is a guest post.
The word “budget” can make some people cringe, but it doesn’t have to be looked at like a chore. Budgeting can be a tool to achieve the fun things in life. If you can make a realistic budget and stick to it, you will have more control over your present and future.
Before you start tackling putting your budget on paper, you may want to start tracking your income and expenditures so you have some idea of where your money is going right now. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to find out that most of your income is being used to pay back fast approval payday loans. If you know exactly where your money is being used, it will be easier to redirect when you have a plan. It will also help you to stay realistic.
While you record where all of your money is going, you should sit down and make a list of your priorities. If you see expenses that are not helping you achieve your priorities, which would be where you can trim the fat. Your priorities can be anything you want. Try thinking of what you want out of your future and what you want now and try to balance the two. You may be surprised that you weren’t saving for a trip you really wanted to take or that you are behind on your retirement savings. Just make sure that your budget, or spending plan, takes into account your priorities.
Make a Budget
Once you know where your money is being used and your priorities, you can make a budget that will work for you. Make sure to include your basic expenses plus your extras and the savings categories for whatever savings goals you deemed important. For example, you’ll want to include a spot for your rent or mortgage payment, a spot for food, a spot for utility bills, a spot for retirement savings, etc. A budget is only great if it is achievable.
Record Your Spending
In order to ensure that you are following the plan you made for yourself, make sure to record your spending by tracking everything according to your budget’s categories. If you do this regularly, you’ll be able to see how well you are staying on track (or not) and adjust accordingly. When it’s difficult not to splurge, keep in mind your priorities. A $100 splurge may not look as enticing if you notice your main goal isn’t achieved yet.
Overall, please think of your budget as your personal plan to achieve anything you want. Whether that is debt freedom or an awesome vacation, the choice is yours. Budgets aren’t punishments. They are all about making sure your most important goals in life are met.