As much as I love to travel, workout and do what it takes to maintain beauty in and around me, I must admit that I have had to stick to strict budgets at time – which meant persistently saying ‘no’ to myself even if that new designer bag was lingering in my dreams. Needless to say, I absolutely hated doing that but I also grew to understand that it’s extremely important to do so too.
Sticking to a budget is not fun at all. If anything, it’s one of the most tedious and saddening situations, in my honest opinion. But budgeting, when done correctly, is also the best thing you can do for yourself, your bank account as well as your offspring – if any. All in all, budgeting doesn’t mean that you’re underprivileged, but that you’ve made the accurate decision of spending only when and where necessary. Trust me, saving up now will protect you from being broke in later life.
The Importance of Budgeting
Budgeting is highly necessary if you’re spending more than you’re making in a month. If you find yourself counting pennies by the end of the month, you know where the problem lies. Coming to the realization that you don’t really need half the things you’re spending your hard earned money on is all that you need in order to comprehend that it is highly important that you begin saving up by spending wisely. This also helps you differentiate between your needs and wants.
Establish Life Goals
One of the biggest mistakes many people tend to make when budgeting is having unrealistic goals – goals that they themselves don’t believe they can accomplish. It’s highly important for one to have realistic goals. For instance, start my own business in the next three years – this is a realistic goal and very possible to achieve if you stick to an active budget even if for a whole year.
From what I’ve learned, I couldn’t have accomplished any of my personal life goals if I hadn’t believed in myself or my goals. Now, although the aforementioned example is more of a long-range goal, you should also have immediate goals that you wish to achieve in two to three months – give or take a few. Another factor that helps to manage your money successfully is jotting it down in a notebook dedicated entirely to your finances and budget plan.
Organize & Calculate
Once you’ve established and set aside long-term and immediate goals, find out how much money you need in order to accomplish each of them, and calculate the amount that sums up after adding all the expenses. You should also assess loans or debts that you need to pay off and by what date or time. The total sum of it all is how much you need to save in a certain period of time – all of this depends on what your debt is, what your goals are and how much time you’re choosing to give to each specific goal.
Once you’ve come to terms with how much money you’ll need, assess your monthly income and set aside a time limit for it. For instance, if you’ve given yourself a window of about three years, assess how much you’re making each month, and how much you’ll be able to save in the chosen amount of time. You should also make an estimate of what your other expenses are, such as the cost of gas to drive to and fro your workplace, the cost of meals each day, etc. You should also calculate the amount required for seasonal events such as Christmas presents, birthdays, etc.
Track Your Spending
Now that you’ve done the basics of establishing a clear idea of the goals and the effort, time and money for each separate goal, and have done your calculations – it’s time for you to start keeping a tab on each and every place where you spend your money. Even after a five minute trip to the supermarket, make a handwritten or typed account of how much you spent. This is the simplest form of tracking your money at all times. If you do other things like go to the gym, keep aside fees and any other necessary things.
This is also the most difficult part of budgeting, but as long as you realise the importance of it, you should be fine. Learn to say ‘no’ to yourself when you know something isn’t beneficial for you or for your bank account. It’ll be very difficult in the beginning, but you should get the hang of it in no time.
Do You Miss Splurging While Shopping? Wait It Out!
I, for one, admire pretty things whether they’re clothes, jewellery, shoes or just a nice healthy smoothie. But when designers bring out a new line and you can’t help but drool over how gorgeous it is, keep the price tag in mind at all times. I’ve known girls who simply cannot stick to their budget plan, causing them to fail miserably on it because they just cannot tell themselves ‘no’ when they desperately want a branded item. However, you must keep all your goals in the back of your mind at all times.
Wait for the time when everything either goes on sale or for an off-season. Trust me, when you do accomplish your goals by the end of it, every single time you told yourself ‘no’, every teardrop, and every single frown will all seem worth it. If you have a commission based income, you can always use the extra money to splurge because sometimes, a girl’s gotta do what a girl gotta do!
I hope you understand that I speak from experience, so there’s no reason why this foolproof plan should fail – as long as you stick to it under any circumstances. No exceptions!
Did I leave anything out? Did you try out any of the methods I mentioned? If so, please tell me about your experience in the comments section below!