Step 2 is Make a Budget, but I thought I should break that step into two parts- first explaining why you should make a budget, followed by how to make a budget.
We have all heard that you should run your finances like a business and all businesses have budgets right? Well, I imagine that any successful business does have a budget, but I’m not an accountant and I don’t know about you, but that advice never resonated with me. Let me tell you why I, a person who never had a budget before and never planned my finances ahead of time, think you should have a budget. It comes down to one word for me- empowerment.
You may think that making a budget will be boring, time consuming, difficult, nerdy, restrictive, or any other number of negatives that seem to surround the word budget. Guess what- I thought all of that before too, but since I’ve started living on a budget I can tell you that most of those words do not apply.
- Boring – Yes, unless you love math and details this will probably be a bit boring.
- Time Consuming – Yes, it will take a lot of time, especially at first, but it will get faster each month.
- Difficult – Somewhat difficult at first, but once you’ve set it up the first time you are basically done with only minor tweaks left to make here and there.
- Nerdy – Subjective, but nerds are a bit more popular these days so it isn’t all bad. 🙂
- Restrictive – Not at all. I have found it to be exactly the opposite!
I think the greatest hurdles most of us face when it comes to budgeting are the fear of the budget restricting our fun and the amount of time we will have to spend managing it. These are valid concerns and it does take time to properly manage your budget, but the time commitment is far outweighed by the empowering benefits and control you gain after making a successful budget.
I’ve used this word a lot now so let me talk about how I find a budget to be empowering. If you are anything like me, your finances have probably been out of control for a long time. A budget is the only way to take control of your finances, and it feels really good to take back control of something that I couldn’t handle for so long.
- Make faster decisions – Can we afford XYZ this month? Just look at the budget and you will have your answer.
- Resist temptation – can I afford a video game this month? The numbers don’t lie. You can lie to yourself about how good or bad your finances are, but if you have it all on paper the truth is easy to see.
- The power to say no – Having a hard time saying no to friends or family who want you to spend your money? It’s a lot easier to say no if you know for a fact that you can’t afford to spend the money and as an added benefit you can blame your budget for forcing you to say no.
If you still aren’t convinced, I can only encourage you to give it a try. Commit to at least two months and see what you think. I’m speaking to you as someone who was skeptical, but I am now convinced of the benefits of having a budget.
It’s nice to know why you should start a budget, but you still have to take the time to make a budget. In the next part, I will cover how to make a budget.
9 Steps to Get Out of Debt
- # 1 Stop Borrowing Money
- # 2 (a) Why You Should Make a Budget
- # 2 (b) How to Make a Budget
- # 3 Turn Your Junk Into Cash
- # 4 Create an Emergency Fund
- # 5 Live Below Your Means
- # 6 Track Your Spending and Update Your Budget
- # 7 Visual Reminders to Track Your Debt
- # 8 Make Yourself Accountable
- # 9 Be Patient and Don’t Give Up