Wife asked me, “When are you going to spend the money we saved up for the motorcycle? We now have four hundred dollars set aside. The motorcycle needs repairs and upgrades. We’ve budgeted for it. Now go buy what you need already!”
What an excellent problem to have!
You may have noticed how the strongest people suddenly buckle at the knees at the mention of one word. To them, this word means no more fun, a bunch of rules, and prison.
What is the word? Budget.
This is a poor and incorrect understanding of the power of budgeting.
A good budget puts your spending intentions on paper. It tracks your income and maps it to your bills and savings. It explains where every dollar goes each month ahead of time, not after the fact.
People see budgets as the enemy, when in reality it is a fantastic way to get what you desire. Want to take a vacation in six months? Let’s see how much it will cost, divide by six, and save the amount each month. Want to get a newer car? Put your budget to work for you. Need to find a way to afford tuition? Put it near the top of your budget. Have you always wanted to give to your church and various good causes? This is the only way it will ever happen.
I get it. You’ve never done a real budget and it’s scary. You feel like you’re going to screw it up. (By the way, you will screw it up the first few months.) It feels like a straight jacket on your spending.
Get over it! The budget is the only way to put your money where you want it the most. You can handle it.
Enough talking about it. Let’s make a budget right now.
Sit down with a pen and paper. How much do you make this month? Write it down. How much do you want to save and give this month? Write them down. What are all of your bills this month? Write them down. Do you need to save towards big bills due in a few months? Write them down. How much do you need for groceries, clothing, and any planned activities? Write them down.
Once you have subtracted all of your expenses from your income and it adds up to zero, you are done.
Give yourself grace for at least three months. Expect to get your budget wrong and have to adjust numbers. You will absolutely get better, so don’t be discouraged.
Remember, a budget never needs to be any more complicated than this.
What could you do with money if you started budgeting?