I previously talked about the reason for our budget, but now it’s time to break down how to create a budget. This “series” will happen in a few posts, but it’s more to fully explain our reasoning and not because it’s a complicated process. In this post, we look at the mindset behind budgeting.
What is a budget?
In simple terms, a budget helps you identify where your money goes and allows you to put self-imposed limits on where you spend your money. For years our budget had space for areas that we did not control how much we spent (rent, gas, utilities, etc) and space for the things that we could control (eating out, movies, etc). I will break down some additional specifics of this in Part 2.
I look at a budget as setting a goal or target that I want to hit.
What a budget isn’t
A budget is not a tool that says you can’t have fun. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had where people tell me they “work hard and want to have fun.” That’s fine, but when you spend all of your money, you can’t have fun anymore. Debt isn’t fun and living paycheck to paycheck sucks.
As I said above, I look at our budget as a goal or target. We don’t always hit our target, and sometimes we do better than expected, but the overall goal is to get close to what we planned. Our budget is meant to show us how much money we have to spend in a given month and where we can spend it.
When we started using a budget it provided a calming feeling for us. We knew exactly what our plan was and how we were going to get there. There was no more guess work or wondering how much we spent. It was all written down in front of us. We had a plan and it was awesome. The confidence that budgeting gives you is amazing.
If you have never used a budget before or haven’t been able to stick to one, I want to encourage you to believe that you can do it. It might be hard at the beginning and it may force you to make some difficult decisions, but in the end, the comfort of understanding your finances is wonderful.
A challenge for you
As I continue to work on this series of posts I want to put a simple challenge out there for you. Create a budget and follow and tweak it for three months. Give me 90 days to prove to you that budgeting is a freeing, valuable experience.
We will help you build your budget from the ground up and hopefully answer all of your questions along the way. If you have any questions, please feel free the leave them in the comments below or in any of our other posts and we will make sure we answer them all.
Now let’s get ready to make a budget and hit our financial goals!