Are you a naysayer when it comes to budgeting?
It was probably a silent “yes”. With all the mumbo-jumbo flattering on the internet, we couldn’t help better than gathering the whats and hows about budgeting!
Stop wandering and begin wondering… how can budgeting be my money-wheeler? Come with us… let’s dive in.
What Is Budgeting?
Budget’s definition according to gurus: “A formal statement showing income and expense details for future plans and objectives.”
Fair enough, still not the jackpot…
Now, before we dig ourselves in the hows, let’s be crystal clear what budgeting truly is and what it’s not.
Budgeting – Planning how much money you must earn, save, and expend during a given period of time.
Sticking all your receipts on the refrigerator or keeping them in your drawer is NOT budgeting. In fact, it’s a terrible idea for your psychological health. Opening your fridge is not a pleasure anymore but a pain in the neck caused by a stack of bills reminding you when they’re due.
Pulling your office drawer and having a 4K view of your bills tells you why you’re working long hours… to cross them off.
No doubt why budgeting seems so overwhelming.
What if you could hide your bills somewhere they can’t shout at you… while you get rid of stress and pay those bills unconsciously?
Well here’s the trick: Have a silent plan.
That plan is called budgeting, and you can easily hide it digitally in a hermetic room where it can’t stress your mind every time you look at it.
Indeed, budgeting powerfully–the way we’ll show you right here–will
- Save you time staring at your bills
- Let you get rid of wrinkled paper
- Give you a plan for every dollar you spend (and those you keep)
Sounds gettable, right? If you’re still confused, don’t worry… soon you won’t be anymore. Just keep reading!
Why Should I Budget?
“It means more responsibility, thus more time checking your numbers, so why would I even budget?” Not the case. The effort required to budget is way less than searching for receipts between a bulk of papers.
The key difference between budgeting and “checking your bills” is timing. Do the work upfront to know how much goes where, being nice and clear about what’s planned to be earned and spent.
In other words, you’re escaping the struggle of paying your bills, to a new life where money is left for leisure and peace.
All it requires is a little work upfront (which you were meant to do anyway), but with less time.
That really is a good self-deal, isn’t it?
Imagine how your daily thoughts would change by making this small shift…
- From making ends meet as there’s not enough cash for your bills… to remembering you already have a plan for your next weeks and don’t have to worry anymore.
- From not knowing how money slips from your wallet… to taking complete control over your finances.
- From a futureless plan or no plan at all… to having clear steps to achieve your financial goals… with less effort.
Budgeting is nothing but a written plan saying: “This goes for bills and this goes for me.” It’ll allocate every dollar that comes in and determine how it goes out.
Instead of wondering where your money should be, you will now make decisions upfront and commit to updating your income and expense goals.
Who Needs A Budget And Who Doesn’t?
If you’re in debt and need a shift in your financial situation… you definitely need a new approach to your financial management. A budget will answer the question: “Where in the world is my money and how could I prevent this from happening again?”
If you’re working long hours to make a living… you surely appreciate your money, so why not show appreciation by making budgeting a habit? A budget will turn those financial burdens into early opportunities to save more than you spend–effortlessly.
If you’re one of those people who answers “fine, and you?” every time someone asks how you’re doing… chances are you aren’t comfortable with your finances. Building a budget will help find effective ways to sputter money over your savings account.
If you’re living a good life with enough income for a comfy life… you might need a budget to make the most out of every penny because money can’t buy certain things, but it does give you the financial confidence and dream life you deserve.
If you’re a millionaire living on your own terms… you still need budgeting. And maybe you wouldn’t be rich without tracking your numbers. Remember making money is not as challenging as keeping it.
If you own a business or work in the finances sector… you tell us. Would you think a business would thrive without tracking their budget prior to the following week, month, and even years?
Absolutely not, right? What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done… and so it is for your finances.
So who doesn’t need a budget, then? Basically, anyone who’s not tiptoed in their financial well-being.
Make it a habit and be consistent. You might just be able to:
- Travel wherever your heart’s felt for.
- Live where and how you want to
- Build a strong money foundation for your future and your kids’
“Balancing your money is the key to having enough.” ― Elizabeth Warren
Where to Start
Grab your money wisely before it even comes in. No matter what your goals are, budgeting must not be a matter of yes or no, but a question of which method should I use.
In fact, any system might work for you only if you commit to following your plans and triumphing over daily temptations.
Surf in the web and you’ll come up with dozens of budgeting systems and blueprints. Keep digging and you’ll find some more. Or just follow the read and choose the one you feel most for…
The basic method for budgeting shows you a sharp number of how much cash comes in and goes away.
To run this method:
- List your income, expenses, and find the difference. (Hopefully, you’re on green numbers.)
- Set goals for how much you’d like to spend in the next time frame. (Could be biweekly, monthly, or bimonthly)
- Commit to your goals and keep those numbers in control.
The problem with budgeting, in general, is that it requires discipline and commitment. Otherwise, a small temptation might ruin the whole banana.
And, as we discussed earlier, budgeting doesn’t require MORE of your time… nono. It’s a change in timing. Rather than running after your bills, you’re prepared with anticipation for any receipts coming in. Bye-bye stress.
The 80/20 Budget
If you’re used to paying yourself before bills, good job. Hope you’re paying yourself enough…
Saving 10% for yourself would’ve worked in the last century. Now, paying yourself AT LEAST 20% is a surefire strategy for financial security.
The other 80% goes for necessities and regular expenses.
The beauty of this strategy? The moment you pay yourself first, you grab the bull by the horns and stop worrying where the rest of the money goes to.
Disclaimer: We’re not saying you shouldn’t pay your bill stipend… just do it after you.
The Magic Zero-Based Budget
You see, the zero-based budget plays a magic role and will make you think twice every time you pull out your wallet.
Suppose you’re left with $300 bucks at the end of the month. You tell those $300 where they go. This way, you jolt the extra money wherever you think it must be. At last, you’re left with $0.
However, you won’t stay without money. What’s leftover will be distributed among your saving categories. (e.g housing, entertainment, health care)
You know, one reason why we miss on traditional budgeting methods is that we don’t record small expenses. We think only the big ones matter…yet the small bills clasped together account for more than you imagine.
It’s like living on a diet…
We’d love to eliminate all those snack calories, but it’s impossible. We’re not in candyland. Every intake counts… no matter how slim the cookie is.
Sadly, not all humans can budget effectively because we lack self-control. When we feel tempted to buy something “unnecessary” or out of budget, it’s easy to grab a little from here and a little from there to follow through. Not one budget method will work this way.
So… honestly, if you consider this an issue, use the following strategy.
The Sub-Savings Account Method
With this method, you’re free to choose what percentage of your income should be “left under the mattress”. (Ideally 20%… minimum.)
The key difference lies in opening multiple savings account and naming them per category.
So, let’s say Jordan’s been having some financial issues because he can’t stop himself from borrowing should-not-spend money. He opens a couple of savings accounts and names them…
- “Vacation to Miami” – 10%
- “Savings” – 20%
- “Retirement” – 10%
- “Regular Bills” – 40%
- “Investments” – 10%
- “Others” – 10%
He then separates his income into these categories and deposits accordingly. This way, betraying himself would require more effort, being less likely to happen.
Keeping temptations away, it’s time to set goals. For example: “Fund $1,000 within 3 months for a vacation to Miami.”
Categories to Save For & How Much to Put Into Them
Now that you’ve chosen a budgeting method, let’s list the categories you might want to be aware of…
- Savings – Pay yourself first. (Minimum 20%)
- Emergency – Fund for any eventuality. (5% to 10%)
- Utilities – Basic expenses such as electricity, water, and gas (up to 10%).
- Housing – Your roof needs some care… (25% to 30%)
- Health Care – Are you life insured? Is your family life insured? (5% to 10%)
- Debt – Credit card bills, car payments, or student loans. (5% to 10%)
- Foods & Groceries – Whether basic groceries, or dinner with peers. (10% to 15%)
- Personal – That includes clothing, personal care, and self-gifts. (10% to 15%)
- Entertainment – Might come late… yet it’s the easiest category to put cash on 😉 (5% to 10%)
- Giving – Share with the world. (5% to 10%)
How to Get Your First Budget Right
Whether you’re looked upon by your spouse or not, creating an effective budget form the first run is simple.
- Budget BEFORE the month begins. What are your goals for each category? How much will you save for each one? Planning a few days ahead the following month would be nice… but sometimes we like the adrenaline of procrastination (so if June’s coming our way, you should be done by May 31st).
- List ALL income for the next month. Paychecks, bonuses, passive income, whatever source of $$.
- List ALL expense for the next month. Expenses from every category mentioned above.
- Move money around and equal it to ZERO. That means, if you’re in debt, move things around to make ends meet. Or if you’re leftover with a few bucks, use the zero-based budgeting method and fund other categories.
No need for a master degree on finances… right?
What if you were alone on this journey? You know… without any tools or guides on how to budget effectively. This would sound extremely overwhelming…
Good news: You’re in the 21st century, which means you count with so many resources at the tip of your fingers you can’t even complain how easy it is to gather these.
Still, we rolled a couple of resources to make your life simpler, from excel spreadsheets, to cloud based budget planners to easy to use apps.
Please note that these are 3rd party tools in which we hold no compensation whatsoever for or have no agreement with. They are just a recommendation we provide because we truly think they may help you. Its your choice if you wish to use them or not.
Why an app?
- Access instantly from your smartphone
- Create your budget within minutes
- Guide yourself with suggested categories and percentages
- Build long-term commitment
- Track spending
- Check every dollar in-and-out
An app does ALL the hard work for you…
What else do you need?
We thought a couple of bonuses wouldn’t hurt you, would they?
Work your way through the budgeting tips below. Avoid newbie mistakes and get your budgeting done right from the first time.
1 – Choose Percentages Wisely.
Yours might vary significantly. The pics are just for reference:
2 – Plan For Leisure
It’s okaay! We all get tired at some point. Budget a day a week for your family, friends, but most importantly, for YOURSELF.
Life isn’t about working, earning, spending, and repeat. Your body needs some rest, your loved ones want attention, and money helps the cause. They say money can’t buy happiness, but it does buy other things that make you feel happy.
3 – Stick to the Plan… Seriously.
Notice budgeting is not for one-time fellas. It is a habit. One you must develop no matter how much money you handle.
You know what they say… if you can’t handle the money you have right now, how could you handle more?
4- Stick to the Plan… But Adjust.
We’re cool wavering goals a little. If it’s necessary, do so. Yet, if you’re moving things around to cover your mistakes or lack of discipline, then it’s BAD.
For example, if you claimed to save $700 for vacation every month and you saved $500 this time, don’t lower your goal or you will settle for less.
5 – Track, track, track…
Download expense tracking apps ASAP. We’re humans. We don’t like to be accountable, not even to ourselves. An app helps you worry for a second about recording expenses and then it does all the work for you.
Why swim against the current when you’re offered to jump on a boat?
6 – Irregular Income.
You may or may not earn a stable income… and that really isn’t important. If your actual income is unstable, then set up a percentage goal for every category. (e.g 10% to entertainment, 15% to health care) As simple as that.
7 – Sudden Expenses.
No excuses for unexpected bills. As long as you keep your emergency fund and life insurance in place… everything will flow how it should.
In the end, sudden expenses are mostly medical issues consulting an advisor will help you discover the options available so you can be protected against.
A budget works best when combined with the right habits and mentality. You can tune your budget freely–no one’s pushing your back.
If bills are under your control, then why would you worry?
Well done on having invested a few minutes learning how to save yourself hundreds or even thousands of minutes and money budgeting in the future!
We’re thrilled by having shared this master guide with you. Hope you learned TONS and are fired up to get in the habit of managing your money..
Have a question or need help planning your budget? Contact us at no obligation.
-The Attingo Team