Do you cringe when you hear the word budget?
My younger self certainly did.
A budget screamed deprivation. It was the unbearable straight jacket that would suck all the joy out of life. Not to mention the fact that budgeting seemed intrusive and time-consuming.
Let’s face it, budgeting sounds as inviting as getting up at 5 a.m, to hit the gym. Perhaps that’s why a Gallop poll shows that only one out of three American households prepares a detailed budget. It seems most people would rather go to the dentist than sit down and draft a budget.
But what if I were to tell you that a budget is not about deprivation at all. In fact, “budget” is the sweetest sounding word in the English dictionary.
Don’t believe me? Consider this.
A properly crafted budget allows you to experience more of what you truly enjoy while eliminating those things that provide less value to your life. You get more of the good stuff while eliminating the fluff.
It all starts with setting your financial goals. These are goals, which express your dearest priorities and truest desires in life.
Maybe building a retirement account and getting out of debt is crucial for you, but you also savor the precious time spent with your family on vacation.
Contribute to each one of these goals every month. Next, work backward from funding your priorities and direct the rest of your spending toward your other budget categories (i.e. food, entertainment, clothing, utilities, transportation, etc).
While you may not be able to cut expenses on some categories, like rent for instance, you’ll quickly find ways to reduce spending in other budget categories.
You could eat out less, meal plan or shop more wisely in the grocery store to cut food expenses. Perhaps you cut the number of cable channels to slash entertainment spending or shop your own closet to squash your clothing expenses.
In this sense, a budget forces cash to flow from the waste bins of your financial life (cable, dining out, clothing) into your priorities, allowing you to get the most value from your money.
Herein, lies the beauty of a budget. It demands that you make smaller sacrifices in order to achieve your most valued financial priorities and desires. And that’s something to truly smile about.
Don’t waste another day despising budgets. Instead, realize that a budget is your best friend. Create yours today. You’ll enjoy the peace of mind knowing your bills are paid, avoid wasting money and finally take charge of your financial life.
BMWK, how do you go about creating your budget?
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