Budgeting

Budgeting Works

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For many of us, this was one of our New Year’s Resolutions.  The holiday bills have started to roll in.  Maybe bad weather caused you to miss some hours at work.  Maybe you lost your job.  Maybe hours have been cut due to lack of business.  Whatever the reason – this is probably the last thing on your list right now.  Great intentions when we start the new year but like most resolutions by the 3rd week, they are starting to lose their luster.

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Setting up a budget is tough.  Monitoring your spending is tough.  Believe it or not, when you have control of your money it is empowering.  You can also reach your financial goals one step at a time – even if they are baby steps.

The basic idea of a budget it simple – spend less than you make.  I know the kids need XYZ.  I know you will put it on the card and pay it when you get paid. I have heard (and used) all of these reasons as to why I can’t save or stay on a budget.

The truth is that once I figured out what I was actually spending money on, what I wanted to spend money on, and how to automatically save – life got so much easier.

Do you really know where you money goes?  I mean most of us will say we do but if we had to track every penny spent in a given week, could we?  How can you create a budget, if you don’t know where your money is going.  I have to admit this is the toughest part.

If you use a programs on your computer like Quicken or Quick Books, that is a great place to start.  Look at your spending from the past three months.  Now it may not count the Starbucks coffees or lunches if you use cash.  If you are like me and use your debit card for EVERYTHING, this will be very easy.  The key is to put ALL spending into a category.

Here are some categories:

  1. Needs: rent, utilities, basic groceries, car payment, paying off debt, etc.
  2. Wants: eating out, shopping, vacations, etc.
  3. Savings: retirement, emergency fund, savings for future purchases (such as a house down payment)

So, how does your monthly spending look? Are you spending more on wants than needs?  Are those needs being put off?  Believe me, I cringed when I saw that most of my budget fell into the needs category due to debt.   It was time to make some changes.

I started to prioritize my want spending so that I could save and pay off that debt.  I looked at my wants and decided which was the most important to me.  Then I started cutting some things out.  WaWa stops when I worked to pick up food when I could make and take it from home.  I stopped getting my nails done every 2 weeks and  made it a monthly treat.

Then I set up an auto transfer to start saving.  Okay, so it may not be the recommended 20% but it is a start. On payday, I automatically pay myself first.  I will admit that on months when I am short due to a smaller paycheck, I may borrow BUT I always do the transfer.  Start with $5 a paycheck and put it in a savings account.  It will slowly grow.  I actually do $25 a month then if I get a bonus or any extra money, I split it between debt reduction and savings.

Budgeting does work.  I stomped out my inner gremlins around budgeting and money management a few months ago.  It made a HUGE difference in how I look at my checkbook.  I have money saved plus bills are paid.  I am using the snowball method to pay down debt.  Honestly, it wasn’t easy but give it a try because it was so worth it.  Start somewhere even if it is figuring out where your money ACTUALLY goes instead of just guessing.

I would love to hear your best tips for budgeting.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

 

Unclutter Your Life

Life Goals NOT New Year’s Resolutions

monday morning

WOOHOO!  Another short work week!  On the downside, I am headed to Philadelphia Airport with Belinda and Ashley.  They are headed home.  The last 5 days went way too fast.  It was great having them home for Christmas….Okay, before I start to cry AGAIN, let’s get to today’s blog.

We are just days away from the NEW YEAR.  Whether you read blogs or are a social media nut (you know Facebook, Twitter, etc) – everyone is talking about new year resolutions.  Over the years, I have made New Year’s Resolution and just as fast as I made them, I broke them.  Last year, I set goals – not HUGE, unattainable ones just ones that would improve the quality of life for me and my family.  Here are some ideas as you prepare to set your New Year’s Resolutions:

#1 Reducing Stress and Overwhelm

Stress is a leading contributor to illness and disease in the body, mind and soul. And an unchecked to-do list does not go rent free in your head. I want you to step back and inventory your life right now. Where are the biggest areas of stress and overwhelm? How can you reduce them immediately? Do you need help around the house, running errands, to make that doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off?

Make a list of things that are stressing you out!  Then simply ask, what would eliminate this as a stress in my life.  Maybe it is asking your family for help with the housework.  Okay, so it won’t be done exactly like you want – who cares?  Maybe it is saying “NO” to being the chair of an event or maybe it is looking for a job that you enjoy going to instead of dreading everyday.  Just explore the options of reducing your stress.

#2: Health

Your health is your greatest asset. If you don’t have it, you can’t think as clearly and you have a lower quality of life. Let’s get your body functioning at its optimal level! What changes do you need to make right now to make yourself feel better and live healthier?

This doesn’t mean you have to commit to loosing XX pounds.  It simply means making changes in your eating habits that will help you to feel better.  Starting in January, I will be cutting down (to almost nothing) sugar.  Will I still sneak a cookie or two?  YES!  Will I still have an occasional glass of wine? YES!  But I will be applying the 80/20 rule.  By doing this 80% of the time, I will feel better.

#3: Strengthening Your Finances

No matter where you are on the path to prosperity, it’s your birthright to live an abundant life. Do you need to save money? Get out of debt or start a debt repayment plan? Is it time to invest? Change careers into something more lucrative? Find higher paying clients? Let’s get your money in order and set some solid goals.

Okay, paying off debt was my “goal” last year.  I have to say that I made progress, maybe not what I dreamed it would be but that is okay.  I am paying it off and saving money.  I am giving back to my church and the community.  I am finding ways to increase my income doing things that I love.  I am no longer saying “I hate being in debt”, I am saying “I am no longer in debt”.  I am speaking abundance into the Universe.  If you haven’t read The Secret, it is a MUST read this year.

#4: Create More Loving Relationships

We cherish our most loving relationships. They give us food for the soul and provide us with inspiration and support through all of life’s seasons. Which are your most loving relationships? How can you create more of those? What changes do you need to make to become more loving?

My goal last year was to spend more time with family and extended family.  I am happy to say that I am moving closer to where I want to be in this area of my life.

So, what are your dreams for each of these areas of your life?  Not your New Year’s Resolutions, your dreams.  Share them with us.  Let’s all CELEBRATE and ENCOURAGE each other to reach our dreams this year.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!