You’re trying to make changes so you can live a better life. According to Balance.com, a budget is “hard work, and often brings to mind feelings of restrictions, limitations, and plain old not getting what you want when you want it. A budget is a cornerstone of good financial health. It sounds like a diet. So, let’s think about it in terms of dieting again.
When trying to live a healthier lifestyle if you don’t eat on plan every day, you don’t give up, rewrite a new diet and further restrict yourself. You should look at worked and what didn’t work and then make adjustments. Let’s talk about our new healthy financial lifestyle.
- Improve your budget. Continually evaluate your plan. If you overspend consistently in one area, look at that area. What can you change? Make sure your budget adds up. If it’s too restrictive, you may not stick to it just like a fad diet.
- Know where you’re spending every dollar. This is like meal prepping and planning. If you know where you’re going to spend every dollar you make for the month, you will be less likely to overspend. Yes, you can still have flexibility and fun or discretionary money. But, you know exactly how much money that is. Or, you go get it out of the bank and use cash so you don’t overspend.
- Set short-term goals. If your goal is to pay off $50,000 in debt, that can be daunting. I think of the joke, “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.” So, break it up into smaller chunks like six month goals or even monthly goals. Or, give yourself a small reward when you stick to one of the areas you are struggling with. This could even be a highlighter on your budget, to mark the areas you stayed within. Notice the small victories and that you did better than last month.
- Understand opportunity cost. When you are tempted to overspend, think of what you are giving up. When you have clear goals, it is easier to see that buying a cute pair of boots isn’t as great as being out of debt. You can also think of purchases in terms of time. If you make $20 per hour, that $100 pair of boots will cost five hours of your time. If you’re trying to get out of debt, so you can quit that job and do something you enjoy more, then the boots might not be worth it.
- Allow yourself a break. You didn’t completely blow your budget. Don’t give up. Look back at your accomplishments with your budget. If you’re starting to get burned out, you might need to take a step back and make your budget work for you. A budget is useless unless you can implement it in your life.
Contact me for help setting up a budget you can work with. Make this the year, you get out of debt.