Budgeting doesn’t need to be hard. It can be as simple as you want to make it. However, there are a few things that you can do to make sure you have a positive experience with your budget. Here are four tips to make sure you have a great experience and start to feel the “magic” of budgeting.
Tip #1 – Write it Down
Budgets can come in many shapes and sizes. They can be created for individuals, families, and households. You can even create them to help you find the funds to go on a service mission, have a wedding, or have another specific event. The biggest issue, however, is not that people don’t want to do a budget…it’s that they never write it down. Writing it down brings a level of commitment. Putting it out on paper or a spreadsheet, or even using an app of software allows you to see it and commit to it. So take a second and write your budget down, if you haven’t already!
Tip #2 – Create a Savings Plan
Along with a budget, consider having a separate document that goes along with your budget that will work hand in hand. That document is a savings plan. Creating a specific savings plan will enable you to keep your mind on the long game… that is saving for the future and for future emergencies. It doesn’t need to be hard. Just specify how much you want to save and then make specific, action goals so that you can make sure and accomplish what you are striving for.
Tip #3 – Make Goals
Speaking of goals…while you are writing down your budget and savings plan, make sure that you make S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time oriented. Setting goals allows you to look into the future and make plans. It will also become a benchmark and allow you to feel successful when you hit those goals. Look at the next six months or a year and make some goals and then do everything that you can to strive to hit them!
Tip #4 – Keep the Long Term in Mind
We all have times when we have an emergency or situation in which we need to spend money to survive. Whether it’s medical bills, or the car breaks down, we all have times when this happens. Don’t let it bother you. Pay what you need to pay, and then get back up and keep striving to hit your goals. If you can keep the long term in mind, then you will forever be able to accomplish your goals (even if it takes a bit longer than you thought).
If you can keep these four tips in mind, then you will have a positive budgeting experience. Put it out on paper, create a savings plan that compliments your budget, and make specific goals to help you get where you want to go. If something happens in the middle of your plans, keep the long term in mind. Following these four tips will increase your level of financial confidence and ultimately help you find financial peace in the months and years to come.