Not knowing where to start is OKAY. Trust me, you are not alone. So many people struggle with those scary wandering around in the dark feelings when it comes to their money.
I grew up around the financial world. Budgeting and saving is like second nature to me. I have done my budget since I was 18 years old. I had to figure out a way I could save money but also have fun and buy myself something I wanted.
Start with your budget. Your budget is the road map to guide you where you want to go. Budgets are LIFE. Every month I customize my own budget along with my monthly clients so we can see our areas of OPPORTUNITY. These are the categories you overspend in. Monthly adjustments are something that keep you in line with your goals whether short term or long term. It’s all about Balance, Consistency, and Discipline.
Setting a Realistic Budget
Setting a realistic budget means diving into those sticky areas of your life and seeing what type of purchases you have been making. What type of categories do you have within your budget? Do you have long term goals? Do you have debt? By answering these questions you can track your categories and make sure every dollar has a purpose. I have a great blog post about the foundation of a budget that you should check out called Budgets: Foundation for a Solid Budget.
Balance is key in life in general but especially within your finances. You need a balance between spending money and saving it. You should be spending money on bills plus any irregular expenses that pop up throughout the month, but you should also have a “Savings” & a “Retirement” category to toss money in each month as well. These categories being in your budget will ensure you add money to it if you are also consistent and disciplined.
Here are some ways to bring balance to your financial life:
- Set some goals
- If you are a small business owner, pay yourself on a schedule
- Have an emergency fund
- Create a debt payoff plan
- Utilize tax-deferred investment plans
- Create a Will
Consistency is so important when it comes to your budget. You have to keep up with your budget to see results. REMEMBER, it is just a blueprint for you to follow. It should not feel like a restriction, but more like a structured guideline that helps you figure out what your areas of OPPORTUNITY are. Consistently checking in with your spending is like going to the doctor for a check up. It keeps you healthy and aware.
Here are some ways to stay consistent with your finances:
- Increase your knowledge
- Increase your income
- Change your money habits
- Be rich, don’t look rich
Discipline is hard. I feel you. We all have trouble telling ourselves no. I love buying gifts for my family and friends. Something I have to constantly check in with is WHY I want to spend money. I used to shop A LOT and I racked up a huge credit card bill which took me about a year to pay off. I use that as an example when talking to myself about why it’s probably not a good idea to buy that $400 purse.
Since having kids though, I have transitioned my way of thinking. I now appreciate experiences more than “things” or “stuff.” I want to provide my children with life experiences and teach them to be kind humans rather than purchasing things trying to look “cool.” It is definitely a priorities game. Whatever is a priority to you will end up on your budget. It’s all about Balance, Consistency & Discipline.
Here are a few ways to stay disciplined in the new year:
- Set some financial goals
- Use automation for your bills
- Give yourself a challenge
- Change your money habits
- Get an accountability partner or financial coach
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your financial struggles I have just the thing for you! My free video series called 3 Keys to Unlocking Your Financial Freedom is available on my website so go grab it when you get a chance. It’s time to plan on your financial freedom!