Some embrace it, some reject it. No matter how you slice it: YOU NEED A BUDGET.
If you’re an income-earning adult attempting to manage life sans a budget, you’re setting yourself up for financial disaster. Is that an overstatement? Not at all.
Case in point: the Federal Reserve reports that the average US household has $8,402 in credit card debt as of May 2019. This means that, as a nation, we owe more than one trillion dollars to creditors.
While there may be some social and political issues at the crux of the consumer debt crisis, arguably, much of the problem could be solved with a simple budget.
What is a budget?
It is a tool that calculates your income and expenses. When used correctly, a good budget will help you plan your life based on the amount of money coming and going out.
Powered with this knowledge, you can make sound financial decisions – whether it’s an extravagant European getaway or a simple trip to the grocery store.
Why is budgeting so important?
‘A goal without a plan is simply a dream’. You need a budget to reach your goals – whether it’s to buy a house, pay down debt, or to be a millionaire. A budget is your plan to success.
You may find this concept far too restrictive, but the advantages of a budget far outweigh any momentary sacrifice. This lifestyle results in true financial freedom, without enslavement to minimum payments and creditors. It’s called ‘peace of mind’ – go get you some.
How do I begin a budget?
So glad you asked. As a beginner, keep it simple – don’t overcomplicate it. The goal is to create a budget you can stick to.
To kick off your new budget-based lifestyle, first track your spending habits. Take note of how you enjoy spending your hard-earned money so that you can make room in your budget for the things you love. This isn’t an exercise in self-deprivation… perhaps just a bit of self-control.
There are many budgeting resources available to help you. Research the various types of budgets and find an approach that works for you and your lifestyle.
A word to the wise: be sure to include savings for emergencies and retirement planning in your budget. Your future self will thank you.
It may not be a fun process initially, but you’ll get the hang of the budget life. And it’s a better life, trust us. It comes with peace of mind and the freedom to spend without regret.