All too often when people think about budgeting they’re envisioning lots of numbers and crazy calculations. But the truth is, a budget is really just a tool to prioritize what’s important to you. When it comes down to it, a budget is more mindset than math.
But if the idea of creating a budget (or even just thinking about your current money situation) still has you intimidated, don’t worry – you are not alone. Lots of people avoid talking about money, budgets, and their financial habits. That’s in part because many of us have been told our entire lives that money is private; that conversations about salary, goals, and struggles are simply off-limits.
It’s time to change all that.
If you’re ready to be in control, take steps toward financial wellbeing, and gain peace of mind, then you are ready to budget like a boss!
Master Your Budget, Step 1: Consider Your Priorities
Everyone cares about different things and what’s important to us can change over time. Explore your different priorities, from simple pleasures like eating at local restaurants and watching movies to big life goals like owning a home or starting a business. By first identifying your priorities you can better plan how to spend and how to save your money. It’s helpful to write down a blank list, numbered from 1-10. Start with the first number and list your top spending priority, and go from there. Remember, everyone spends their money differently.
Step 2: Explore Different Budgeting Techniques
The envelope method, all-cash diets, card only spending, apps, spreadsheets… the list of budgeting techniques and tools is endless! No matter which method you choose, successful budgeting comes down to knowing how much you bring in (your income) and how much you spend (your expenses). Consider asking your financially secure family and friends how they manage their money and get some ideas from the people you trust.
Step 3: Check In With Your Finances
Don’t be afraid of your money. Being informed is empowering! Even if you have a lot of debt (you are not alone) or are living paycheck to paycheck (you are not alone), knowing what’s going on with your finances means you can make more mindful decisions moving forward. The more you know, the more likely you are to become financially stable.