Most of us are aware of what it takes to be healthy, eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, don’t smoke and avoid or manage stress. Easy enough, right? If it were that easy as just following the rules, we wouldn’t have obesity rates of 39.8% (Center for Disease Control, 2017).
Budgeting in many ways is similar. Most of us know that have a written plan for what you want to do with every dollar of our income would help us to manage our money. Easy right? If it were that easy, Americans who have credit card debt wouldn’t have an average of nearly $7,000 (NerdWallet, 2018) in credit card debt.
One reason people don’t like to budget is it takes time and honestly, as someone who helps people do it for a living, I understand that it might not seem like a lot of fun. So here some tips to help you get off that financial couch and start becoming financial fit.
- There are some great tools out there to help you or like some folks I know they like to do it old school with a pencil and a piece of paper. It doesn’t matter how you do it just matters that you do it.
- If you are married it is important that both spouses do this together. In many relationships there is one person who handles the finances, but for the budget exercise it is key to the success if both people create the budget (Look for future posts where I write about this in more detail.)
- For one month, write down all of your income and all your expenses. Start with your “four walls” – Housing, transportation, food and clothing. Now when, I say food, I don’t mean dining out every night and for clothing, I mean the essentials, not couture.
- If you have money left over, you then have the opportunity to decide where you want it to go. As a financial coach, I recommend you start with a $1,000 emergency fund. If you already have that, big cheers to you! Next, I would recommend making a plan to eliminate all of your debt, with the exception of your mortgage as quickly as you can.
- Then just stick to the plan and do again next month. Trust me, like anything it gets easier each time.
Now here’s the really great part…people who have budgets, tend to have less anxiety about money and partners who budget together have better communication and less relationship tension related to money. The financial peace can lead to less stress and better sleep, which can lead to a happier, healthier you. If you need help getting started or want to learn more about winning with your money, I am here to help. My goal is to help you achieve financial peace and live your best life with a budget.