Making a Budget & Sticking to It!

Does the mere mention of the word evoke confusion, panic and fear? You’re not alone, the majority of Americans do not have a budget.

The truth is, there is nothing to be afraid of. The fear of budgeting comes from not knowing how to get started and what affect it may have on your lifestyle.

Let’s break it down.

What is a Budget?

A budget is simply tracking the money you have coming in and the money that is going out. That’s it.

A budget is not something that tells you to give up your favorite hobbies or stop having fun. If used properly, a budget can help you realign your expenses and allow you to save up for the bigger things that you have always wanted.

Anyone can have a budget if they simply put a little time and effort into monitoring their spending habits.

Getting Started

You can get started with budgeting today by tracking each dollar spent, no matter how small. Do this for a month and you’ll have a clear picture of where your money is going. 

If you are like many Americans, you may find you are spending more than you’re saving and steadily going deeper into debt as a result. You may be surprised to find yourself reevaluating spending habits and finding ways to eliminate or reduce expenses.

Question Your Wants and Needs

What do you want and what do you really need? Make a list of needs and wants. Ask yourself: Why do I want it? How would things be different if I had it? Which things are important and essential?

Before making any purchases that will impact your budget, evaluate if it qualifies as a need or just a want.

Turning Dreams into Realities

To stay motivated and stick to your plan, it’s important to set some financial goals. Do your goals include a new car, a dream vacation or maybe a new home? Make those dreams visible so you are constantly reminded of what you are working toward. Hang pictures on the refrigerator or save on your phone to stay focused on saving toward your dreams.

The bottom line is you work hard for your money so it’s important to work hard at keeping it.

For more information about budgeting visit Practical Money Skills – Financial Education for Everyone.