Name one person that loves budgets…I do not love budgets. I love the feeling of staying on budget, I love the feeling of being in control of my money, and I love the feeling of financial organization but I do not love building budgets. Financial organization is important in your life for many more reasons than just making the bills on time (was hoping that was the obvious one!). It also helps you feel more in control of what’s going on in your life, it alleviates some of your stress. Good money management also brings more mindfulness into your life because you are actively thinking of what you’re spending your money on. Example one: let’s say your car breaks down – which feels better, stressing about how you’re going to pay for the repairs or knowing you have some money in savings you can shift around to cover the costs? Example two: Winging meals throughout the week or having a spending plan in place for dining out that week which also puts you in a place that you are more conscious of what you are eating so that you are making healthier choices? Money management isn’t just about the money, it’s also about how it guides other areas of our lives. But there’s still that, “I don’t love budgets” part of the equation so I put together a budget for those like me keeping it simple. A little set-up at the beginning but then it’s easy peasy to maintain.
Step by Step
- Steal a template – Way back when I used to track a paper budget via checkbook register and a good old fashioned spiral notebook. I would spend a good few hours sitting writing everything down and organizing receipts and writing out checks to mail in. Whew, man, whew. My best advice, find a template that you can just plug in your numbers.
- Online Banking – If your bank offers, sign up for it. This makes it so much easier to plug in your spending into your budget template. Instead of feeding through all your receipts you can just pull up your statement which is typically pretty up to date immediately.
- Set up as many of your bills as you can electronically – This saves time from you having to sit down and write out checks and it also helps ensure the payments are being sent. The Prism App is also a great way to set these up.
- Plan a Savings Plan – Set amounts to add to your savings account each paycheck/week. Add these deposits to your budget as withdrawals from your income. If you are able to, schedule automatic deposits. This also works for building out a pay off debt plan – set amounts from each paycheck/week to put towards paying off debt.
- Use the cash system – Set how much you are going to spend on each area each week (i.e. dining out, shopping,etc.) and pull out cash marking each bundle for each area of spending. Using cash will make you more aware of how much is left, stick to it and only spend that amount, once it’s gone, it’s gone.
- Savings Bonus Tip – at the end of each month, transfer your remaining balance into your savings account. This not only boosts your savings but it also helps you stick to your planned budget but not putting extra in it to spend.
Using a budget puts you in control of seeing where your money goes. It gives you a detailed overview of how you’re spending your money and how much you’re spending. This helps you also see where you might be able to cut some spending out to save more.