Being a personal finance blogger, I can easily say I’m obsessed with budgeting. Not only do I re-assess my finances once a month to see if I have acquired any new expenses, I also sit down every two weeks and make a bi-weekly budget to make sure all of my fixed expenses are paid. I have money put aside for my variable expenses and I can try to make some headway on financial goals I have for myself. I know not everyone does this but what blows my mind even more is when people ask me why they should have a budget. I remember my pre-blogger days like they were yesterday and I can easily tell you why you need one.
You Tell Your Money Where to Go Instead of It Telling You Where to Go
Do you truly run your life or does your paycheck? You’re probably thinking this is a silly question, but there is some truth to it. When you sit down and establish expenses for yourself, and how much of your paycheck is going to go into each category, you are taking control of your paycheck. However, if you spend your paycheck without a plan, you are in anxiety to get your next one to catch up on whatever expense or bill you perhaps forgot about. If you were budgeting, you would have known about that expense, paid it, and might even have breathing room until the next one came.
You Can Prioritize Your Spending
Do you ever feel like you’re not sure where your money goes? I have and quite often. Part of your budget is tracking your spending, which can help you not only identify what your money is going but what your spending triggers are as well.
After you see where your money is going, you can make a budget that can not only accommodate some of this (because let’s face it, you need to have some fun money and wiggle room), it can also make sure you have a spending plan to help cut back if you are spending too much. You can then focus putting your money elsewhere, like towards debt, long-term savings, and saving for something you wanted but thought you couldn’t otherwise afford.
Dreams Can Now Be Reality
I would always hear people sigh when I would talk about being able to save a certain amount in my emergency fund. I would hear things like “You are so lucky, I would never be able to do that.” Another thing I would hear is, “You obviously don’t have ‘X’ and ‘Y’ to worry about.
You know what? You’re right; I may not have the same expenses as you do, but I still have expenses. I have bills and I really have to understand the importance of an emergency fund. Since my mother passed away at 15, and my father isn’t the most financially responsible, I’ve really had to rely on myself to make sure things get taken care of. Having a budget truly helps me understand where my money goes and I can prepare for things.
I can also save for things that I’ve always wanted to do, like a trip I plan on taking later this year, and most importantly, braces I’ll be getting next month. I was also able to pay for a new (to me) car late last year thanks to budgeting and paying down my old car loan as fast as I could. It’s nice to know that everything I need to pay for is now covered and that I’m making sure my financial goals are going to be completed.
Less Stress, More Fun
How many times have finances, mainly yours, left you stressed out? I’ve been there. Not knowing where my money goes and having none left two days after I’ve been paid is stressful. Not knowing how you’re going to make it for the next two weeks can lead someone to do a lot of things for money. Why are payday loans so popular? Or how about the payday loans cousin, the pawn shop? Because people are so sure that they will be able to pay it back the next paycheck, but it ends up being such a vicious cycle that one can easily be trapped in.
I’m not saying if you have a budget you will magically have all of your money woes disappear right away, but if you had a plan for your money, half of the battle would be taken care of.
As your budget continues to become easier, your expenses will be manageable and your savings will start to grow. As your savings start to grow you’ll notice how relieved and secure you feel knowing that money is put aside in case of an emergency or an unexpected expense. Car breaks down? Washer stops working? All that stress that these situations would have normally cost you is now a day of the past, thanks to your superb budgeting skills. And you will be able to build that back up in no time.
Wouldn't Trade the Feeling
I cannot thank myself enough for starting a budget. I can tell my money where to go and figure out how to pay for things I truly need and things I would like. I can sleep at night knowing everything is covered. That is a feeling I wouldn’t trade for anything.