A change helped me get on track.
- Budgeting is a great way to control your spending and work toward financial goals.
- My budget was a mess until I made a key change.
Following a budget is something I have been doing for a long time. But it’s not always something he was good at.
You see, I’ve had a set budget for many years. But in the past, I’ve had a hard time keeping it. And if you’re not going to stick to your budget, what’s the point of having one?
However, the good thing is that I realized where I was going wrong and have since corrected it. And these days, my budget is much more accurate for a great reason.
It’s important to be realistic about spending
My budget includes all of my monthly expenses, from my mortgage payment to groceries to my cable and internet bills. It also includes line items for different types of savings: my emergency savings, my retirement plan, and my vacation fund, among other things.
For a long time, I found myself reviewing my budget regularly. And when that happened, luckily I didn’t rack up any debt, so I wasn’t as motivated to address the problem. Rather, going over budget for me meant having less money to put into my savings account, retirement plan, etc. But since I was still contributing Some money to those accounts, I didn’t force myself to make changes.
But I changed my mind a few years ago and realized there was no point in setting a budget that I couldn’t meet. And also me darling to meet the specific savings goals I had set for myself, even if they were somewhat aggressive. For that to happen, I had to make a big change in my budget: allocate more money for leisure expenses.
Before having children, and when they were very young, it was easier to be frugal on the leisure spending front. Now, if I say no to leisure spending, it means telling my son we can’t go bowling with his friends or telling my daughters we can’t join his friends at the carnival. Those are not easy things to do. In other words, it’s one thing to sacrifice something I want in an effort to spend less. But I can admit it: It’s harder for me to say no to my kids.
So I decided to make a change in my budget. I chose to allocate more money to leisure and entertainment, and less money to other expenses, including home maintenance and prepared meals (such as takeout and delivery).
Today, we spend more on leisure, but we tackle certain home maintenance projects ourselves (even if they are time-consuming and not fun) because we know that frees up money for other things. And while we still order our share of meals to go, we’ve cut back substantially compared to what we used to spend.
Make sure your budget is serving you well
Since moving things around in my budget, I’ve found it easier to reach my savings goals. That does not mean that I meet with them every month, because sometimes unexpected expenses arise. But these days, my budget is much more realistic and easy to follow, and that makes it more effective.
If you’re going to use a budget to track your money, you want to make sure the numbers in there are realistic. could you want spend only $700 a month on groceries, but if it costs $800 to feed your family, that’s the number you need to work with. I learned that lesson after several years of having a budget that didn’t really serve me well, and a few simple changes made my budget really useful.
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