Why do a budget? It’s that time of the month again. You sit down to pay the bills and once again, you are having a mini coronary because there is too much month left at the end of your ‘shoestring’ budget. I hear it all the time. “I don’t have grocery money.” “I’m behind on my light bill.” “I’m so stressed out.” It’s not that you don’t have enough money, it’s that you have a hard time managing it. And that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with you if you struggle in this area. It wasn’t until I picked up the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey eight years ago that I learned how important a budget is.
I know what you’re thinking. Why do a budget? They are no fun and too hard to stick to. The number one reason I can give you to why you need a budget is that you will know exactly where each dollar is going and your stress level will go down. Maybe not at first, it takes tweaking and adjusting over about a 90 day period. But once you’ve got it down, you’re gold.
Why do a budget?
Here are some of the biggest perks of doing a budget every month:
*Knowing exactly what your monthly expenses are. Sitting down and listing your expenses on a piece of paper let’s you see where all your money is going. It is quite an eye opener. (You know, like that $180 cell phone bill you pay every month.)
*It helps you figure out what can be eliminated. When we got serious about getting out of debt, we didn’t have cable for about two years. We also got out of our pricey T-Mobile contract and started paying about $100 for both of our cell phone plans with Straightalk. ($80 savings right there-Boom!)
* Seeing exactly what’s coming in and going out is a stress reliever. When you can look and see exactly what needs to get paid during a certain week, it’s liberating. When you’re not struggling to remember due dates, it’s a huge relief. Not only that, you will feel like you’re giving yourself a raise. There have been times I have found an extra $50 hiding in there because we removed something (cable, high phone bill, take out) from the picture.
I have been doing a budget now for eight years. Every month, pencil and paper. (Yes, I’m old fashioned that way, I’m a writer after all.) But you can also use the software of your choice, whatever is easiest for you. I’ve learned over the years that money management is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge. Our budget has worked wonders over the years. Try it and see if it makes a difference. Who knows, you may go from ‘but why do a budget?’ to ‘how did I ever manage without?’
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