Happy new year! Now, stop eating, go to the gym and make a budget. Hello? Hey! Come on back here!
It doesn’t have to be hard or boring. None of it. It’s about allowing you to do the things you want to do. It’s about giving yourself permission, freedom—not limiting you.
Making a budget should be personal. It’s called Personal Finance. Personal comes first. You set the rules/goals. Having a budget and goals helps you reach your desired outcome. If all you do it put numbers on a piece of paper and you’re not a numbers person, you’ll find a budget boring and won’t be motivated to work it. For what are you saving? Is it a trip? Cut out some pictures of the place and include the experiences you want to have. Include photos of you smiling, money and symbols of a Higher Power —be it a sunset, dove, Krishna—something to remind you of hope and Infinite good available to you.
If you want a buddy to help keep you on track, agree to be accountability partners. Then do the numbers. You know what your rent/mortgage cost, and if you owe on your car. If your insurance is semiannually, divide by six and put it into your monthly expenses. Go through your expenses, even if you’re not positive what they run exactly. This is when an accountably partner is great. They can say, “Oh, I forgot to allow for vet bill expenses. Thanks for reminding me.” Don’t panic. It may take time before you have the unexpected aspects of your budget are covered, but do begin to think of your expenses and having the money for them. Build in a buffer zone for each category. Some months we eat more. We entertain, or splurge on special types of food. Other months, we may have car, child or vet expenses. Nothing gives peace of mind like knowing you’ve got the money in the bank account for the expense.
Do you go to the movies, shop or go out for lunch? Add up approximately how many times you go out and spend money, then add a “fun” column into your budget. This is a guilt-free amount from where you can take money for the fun.
If the budget you set up isn’t working for you in a few months, change it. Check in with your accountability partner and budget weekly or monthly until you get a feel for it. Then you can advance to a quick look monthly, and go into depth a few times a year unless there are big changes in your spending, then check more often, making adjustments. You can do this! Reaching your dreams and goals takes commitment, trade-offs and being aware of you want versus what’s become habit. Allow your budget to become this year’s habit.
So, Now, stop eating, go to the gym and make a budget.