You work hard to earn a living. So it’s best to make wise decisions when you spend that money. That’s where a household budget comes in.
A budget has obvious advantages. Like seeing at a glance what we have coming in, what’s going out (and what that money is paying for). You also get an idea if there’s anything left at the end of the month to put into savings.
Before we dive into exactly what a budget can do for us, let’s consider a few points. What will happen if we’re not tracking income and expenses?
You may end up spending more than you’re making in a given month (or two, or three). Over time that can put you into some pretty hot financial water. You may also spend a lot more than you’d like to believe on things like eating out, going to the movies or new clothes.
Having a budget gives you more control over your true spending wishes. That could be dinner and a movie, or not. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an actual choice?
A Budget Tracks Where Your Money Is Going
A budget’s only job is to track your money. You record where the money comes from each month (your income) and then write out everything you spend it on.
Start with your regular monthly bills. These include your mortgage or rent, utility bills etc.
What’s left is your discretionary income.
A Budget Helps You Spot Wasted Money
Having it all in front of you in black and white helps you identify things you’re wasting your money on.
Budgeting forces you to reconsider if you want to spend well over $200 a month on Cable TV. Or $150 on your large cell phone plan. Or how about that yearly magazine subscription to something you no longer read? Go through your expenses and reevaluate if this is REALLY how you want to spend your paycheck.
A Budget Allows You To Be Proactive About Savings
Saving money without a budget is hard. We go in with the best of intentions at the beginning of the month. But somehow there isn’t anything left at the end of the month.
A budget gives you a chance to be a bit more proactive. Set aside some money for savings at the beginning of the month, even a small amount like $20.
Put it in the budget as a regular expense, much like you do with your other urgent bills. If you need to, open a separate savings account so you’re not tempted to spend it.
A Budget Ensures You’re Not Spending More Than You’re Making
Your budget will keep you on track and help you avoid overspending. And I don’t have to tell you that that’s pretty important for your financial well-being.
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Overheard: ““While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”
~ Groucho Marx