Life-Changing Decisions: BUDGETING

Most rich people live by a budget.  I had to start with that statement because sometimes when we talk about budgeting, it seems like it’s only a solution for people who are having problems with their money.  On the contrary, most people who have become successful in their personal finances got that way because they 1) decided where they wanted their money to go ahead of time, and 2) they tracked their money to make sure it got there.  Rich people can’t stand losing or wasting money.  Therefore, they make sure that it’s doing what they want it to do. But what if you don’t really want to be “rich”?…

Believe it or not, budgeting is an issue of maturity.  People who budget realize that they’re not just living for this month, but they realize they had better be prepared for the years to come.  When we budget, we are not only planning what we will spend right now, but we’re also planning for the future.  If I save money now, I’ll have more security later. Plain and simple.  Everybody needs to have some level of peace when it comes to their finances, whether they are trying to be “rich” or not. Mature people know that surprises are bound to come up at some point.  Mature people know that emergencies are going to happen.  Mature people understand that they can’t spend every dime they have every month, because at some point they’re going to get in trouble. Mature people start saving for retirement because they realize that their age number is getting bigger at every birthday… Another thing – having a budget determines who we will be able to help later on.  If we’re always broke, we can’t help anybody!  But is that really the way we want to live for the rest of our lives?  I think not!  Who were you created to help?  How are you supposed to make a difference in this world?  Some people donate to cancer.  Some people donate to kids whose parents are in prison.  Some people support victims of abuse.  Some rescue animals.  Some buy groceries for elderly neighbors.  We all have a Designer Purpose that fulfills us.  A lot of businesses even get started because the business owner kept spending their personal cash on the thing they love to do – and they created a business from that. The beauty of budgeting is that you can see where your money is going, so you can plan to give more whenever you get more. WHERE DO I START? If your budgeting strategy is too complicated, leave it alone!  The best way to begin budgeting is to just start where you are.  Get a notebook, write down how much your after-tax income will be next month and how much your bills are.  How much do you want to spend on groceries, gas, entertainment, and beauty needs.  How much can you save?  Where will you put it?  After that, start writing down EVERYTHING that you spend.  Have a groceries section in your notebook with the amount that you budgeted.  Every time you spend money on groceries, subtract that amount (if you just put the cash in an envelope, you’ll know how much you have left…). There are all kinds of budgeting programs and apps, but honestly, it helps to know how you personally operate first.  Get help if you need it from someone who knows what they’re doing. A FINAL BUDGETING NOTE Please know that budgeting is a process that we get good at over time.  If I mess up one month, I just start over.  If I keep overspending in one area, I eventually see over time that I need to wake up and adjust my numbers.  Remember, this habit is not just for now – it’s a lifestyle.  It has taken some of us YEARS to get better at doing a budget – and we’re still learning how to budget better and smarter. Once you have it figured out though, you can help someone else along the way :-).

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