Alicia Nelson-Bell, personal finance intern
When you think of budgeting, what thoughts, feelings or experiences come to your mind? Have you had positive, successful experiences with budgeting or have you had negative and restricting experiences with budgeting? Do you think of budgeting as something that can be fun or as something that takes a lot of time, effort and restricts you from being able to do the things you want in your life? Have you had any experiences in your life where you felt that better money management and planning would have helped you avoid that unfavorable situation? Do you believe that budgeting can be fun?
Budgeting is More Fun than Consequences of Not Budgeting
Have you ever found yourself consumed by embarrassment, fear, guilt or stress because of your financial or just life situation? If you have ever experienced any of these feelings, you know that those aren’t fun times. Do you feel that having a budget or a plan for your money could have helped keep you from being in those situations? Having a budget and sticking to it can lead to more fun and positive experiences in life than not budgeting and finding yourself with debt collectors constantly calling you or in a situation where you have to tell your landlord that you can’t make your rent payment this month. Taking simple, daily or weekly steps with budgeting can be empowering and help you take control of your financial situation and hopefully avoid the embarrassing, stressful situations previously mentioned.
You Don’t need a Math Degree to Budget Successfully
Many people think that budgeting is complicated because “they aren’t good at math”, but budgeting successfully is more about the behaviors and priorities than the numbers and math of it. You can afford anything, but not everything. Let that sink in for a minute. Is this something that you believe is true?? Your spending plan is a tool that can help you to afford the things that you want and that are important to you in life. Set some goals, both short and long-term, and use them as a guide for your budget.
Your goals should be based on your values and what is important to you, so make your budget reflect that as well. What behaviors, small or large does your family need to change to make your money and your budget help you reach your goals? What positive behaviors should your family keep doing that will help you reach your goals? Let the desired outcomes of your goals be the motivation that drives you to make any needed sacrifices in your budget or also keep doing the positive actions you are already doing. No matter your income or the cost of your goals, you can afford them, it just may take some sacrifices and some time. Remember that any sacrifices don’t have to last forever.
5-10 Minutes a Day IS Enough Time to Make Budgeting Successful
Many people believe that they don’t have time to budget and have it really be successful, since it’s going to take so long. We live in a busy world that is constantly in a go go go mindset, but most people also find themselves with slivers of time throughout the day where they don’t really have anything going on and then they mindlessly waste away a valuable few minutes. These few minute increments throughout the day while waiting in line at the store, waiting to pick someone up or waiting for dinner (the oven to preheat or for it to cook) are great opportunities to do simple actions with your budgeting. Utilizing these short increments of time throughout your day can really add up to help you be more successful with budgeting and reaching your goals without being so overwhelming and stressful.
In these short increments you could:
Any sacrifices don’t need to last forever, but you may find that you can do without them. Utilize the small moments throughout the day that may otherwise be mindlessly wasted to your benefit to help make budgeting more manageable and less stressful. Implementing any of these tips can help you have a more positive mindset about budgeting and see it as more fun than restricting.
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