One thing that every successful business has is a budget. Why? Because they work! It’s a great way to control your spending and make your money do what YOU want it to.
Unfortunately, most Americans don’t have a household budget. We get it, it’s hard to put a limit on yourself. However, creating and adhering to a solid budget will make your financial life much easier to handle. Not only will you control where your money goes, but it will also help you save money.
Your monthly income, for the most part, shouldn’t fluctuate much. What you want to see is your monthly income being more that what you put out each month. If it is, great! Stick some of that overage in a savings account. If not, it’s time to reevaluate your spending. Some expenses are unavoidable, but there are ways to budget properly and still enjoy your life.
The expenses you account for each month like mortgages, car notes and utilities shouldn’t vary much from month to month; those are easy. The tricky part is dealing with the expenses that do vary. A few examples are birthdays or holidays, personal maintenance, clothes and social activities. These are also areas that can break a budget if you’re not careful. If you go over your monthly budget on social activities, you can kiss those new shoes goodbye! Going over in one area means cutting back in another… It’s all about balance and sticking to the budget.
Make sure your spouse/significant other is on board and aware about the budget. We all know ‘that someone’ that likes to spend money all day without bothering to check the finances. Well, they can blow your budget out of the water. Sit down as a family and talk it out. What family activities mean the most? What are some that you can cut back on? These are all questions you’ll want to ask. This is also a great opportunity to teach older kids about managing their money. Give them a monthly allowance, once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Budgeting can be viewed in a negative light, but once you realize the benefits behind a good budget, you’ll wish you would have done it sooner!