A large part of budgeting involves some strategic planning so you can follow through with ease. Simply thinking up a budget is not enough. Acting on it is the next step. To be able to do that, you must consider all possible options regarding your finances before making a decision on how it is that you are going to handle your finances going forward. Looking around you may feel that everyone seems to have money but you. Everyone is going about their daily lives, buying groceries and clothes, or paying for a home or a car while you feel like you are struggling to figure out your basic monthly expenses, leave alone actually affording a vacation this year.
Budgeting requires discipline. It doesn’t mean you have to completely curtail all spending but be more thoughtful of where your money goes and what you are spending on. Be conscious of your decisions to spend on certain things or for certain events over others. With your budget, you can get clarity on what purchases need to be made now and what you can save for later. It might feel nice to go on a shopping spree every once in a while but I guarantee you the remorse you feel later for having spent all that money will be much greater than the initial thrill you experienced. Sometimes, depending on the terms and conditions of your purchase, you might get lucky and can return the items purchased but there is no saying that will be the rule in every situation.
While it does seem like a very tortuous first step to take, once you get the hang of it, budgeting is actually pretty easy to stick to. There might be a few starting troubles, like there is with starting anything new. But when it becomes part of your routine, you will not think twice about the budgeting techniques you have absorbed into your life to achieve the long-term goals you have planned for yourself. Instead of only thinking, now move to practicing. Practicing your budgeting will get you more results than simply hoping that what you had planned on will work itself out at some point. So what if you have never budgeted for anything before? There is always a first time. Take the first step and get on the learning curve.
Starting out on anything new is bound to bring about its own set of questions. I am sure you will have your fears about how budgeting will work for your lifestyle or what you will have to give up which might scare you from budgeting altogether. But learning to do more with what you have today will show you ways to save in order to afford a better life tomorrow. Living from one paycheck to the other is very stressful. You probably already know that. But think of the sense of relief you will have when you realize your new budgeting habits have resulted in some savings for a rainy day. And maybe, if you save a fixed amount over an extended period of time, you will be able to afford the big purchases that you never dreamed of.
Planning a budget and acting on it is not just for people who have multiple incomes or own large companies. Budgeting is vital for everyone, irrespective of financial income. You can hope to win the lottery or be at the receiving end of a fabulous will but at the end of the day that is just hope. Nothing you do will affect it one-way or the other. On the other hand, a plan is something you can do, you can act on it, and you can reap the rewards in real time.
I address many ways to practice conscious spending, to do less with more, to change your attitude towards budgeting and to make it a lifelong habit in my book ‘Budgeting is More Liberation than Limitation’ paperback available on June 2nd. Feel free to pick up a copy and enjoy my budgeting tricks and techniques. Provide a comment below and you could be win a free copy of the book!