Want to get ahead financially?
I bet you hate the idea of setting up a budget to manage your personal finances.
Am I right?
Have you ever tried living on a budget?
If not, I can assure you that, done correctly, it won’t kill you or take away all your fun.
However, it will give you a way to finally get control of your money which can make all the difference in the world.
Yes, it might require a little belt-tightening, but that’s probably in order anyway. So, why not give a budget a shot instead of just dismissing it without ever really exploring the full benefits?
The Misconceptions Surrounding a Budget
Again, I think budgets have gotten a bad rap. Make no mistake about it, I used to hate the idea of living on a budget too, but once I established a good system and got into the swing of it, I realized how awesome it really is.
Of the common budgeting myths, I think the most prevalent one is that living on a budget is just too restrictive. It is a killjoy that robs you of your freedom and flexibility.
Well, I’ve been using a budget to manage my personal finances for several years now and I can tell you that this attitude is DEAD WRONG.
A well-implemented budget actually frees you up to enjoy your life instead of leaving you stressed over money all the time.
I have MORE freedom because of my budget.
When an opportunity arises, whether it be a vacation, a business venture or an extremely good deal on something I want, I know immediately that I have the funds set aside to go for it without guilt or anxiety. Also, if an unexpected expense pops up, I know I can cover it without it cutting into my fun.
This confidence and relaxed attitude toward money is real financial freedom.
The myths will tell you that a budget is too much trouble, but my experience tells me exactly the opposite. A budget is an indispensable tool that has significantly improved my life and my financial position.
You should give it a try. If you need to convince your spouse, then you might want to point them to 7 Ways a Budget Can Improve Your Life for a full rundown on the benefits of living on a budget.
How to Start Your Own Budget
“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.”
~ Will Rogers
I love simple wisdom or what some might call commonsense especially when it comes to money. I definitely shy away from anything that is complicated or that I don’t clearly understand.
Therefore, my advice to you is to follow the tried and true road. Keep it simple. That’s what I’ve done and it works amazingly well.
A couple of years ago, I took the time to document how I set up my budgeting system. The result is a complete “how-to” manual for a budget that really works. I call it The Super-Charged Guide to Financial Freedom. In it, I explain in step-by-step detail a practical, commonsense way to get control of your finances. If you want to implement the exact system that I find so easy and helpful, then grab a copy of this manual and get started.
However, if you want to learn a little more before taking that step, then here’s an overview of what you need to do:
1. Decide on a Budgeting Method
There are a plethora of techniques and platforms for budgeting your money. You will find various methods, spreadsheets and software you can evaluate. All of these apply a slightly different approach or philosophy. You just need to identify what will work best for you.
2. Setup and Configure Your System
Once you choose a technique to follow, then you’ve got to get your system up and running. This often involves defining spending categories, setting priorities and allocating income to expenses. It takes some time and thought to get this all figured out, but the effort is definitely worth it.
3. Be Flexible and Make Adjustments
Right out of the box, you need to understand a rigid budget will die a quick death. This is the most common reason that people give up on their budget. They fail to be flexible and make adjustments. Sure, you have to keep your expenses less than your income, but within that boundary, you have a ton of wiggle room. Exercise your freedom to adjust as necessary.
4. Breakthrough the Obstacles and Be Persistent
Make no mistake about it, budgeting obstacles will arise on your path to financial freedom. You are going to meet resistance from within or from others. As a result, you will likely blow your budget a time or two before you get it exactly right. When you do, don’t give up. Persistence is one of the primary keys to a successful budget.
Be Brave and Get Budgeting
A good budget certainly will not kill you. It will only make you stronger (and freer too).
If you’ve resisted the idea of starting a budget, then I hope this article has helped make you a little braver and addressed some of your concerns.
I know that I wouldn’t live without one.