We live in a materialistic society that encourages overspending; businesses convince us to buy things we do not need just to make ourselves feel better and worthy. Are you really rich if you don’t have the material items to prove it? Yes! You do not have to buy expensive things to prove your wealth to the world. While you can splurge on a few items of your choosing, you should make sure you are setting money aside. This is where budgeting comes to play. It allows you to outline how you spend your money and how you save your money.
Make a list
To begin your budget, you need to know what you are spending your money on. Make a list of all the expenses you have and group the expenses according to needs and wants. Defining your priorities will help you figure out what you can put into your budget and eliminate unnecessary spending. Obviously, your needs group will be established in the budget first because you want to make sure you have enough money for the expenses you have to pay off such as rent, mortgage, gas, groceries, and other miscellaneous bills.
For your bills, write down the amount due and subtract it from your income. You have to decide if you want to a weekly budget or a monthly budget. I suggest doing a weekly budget because you have more or an idea of how much you can spend per week. I find it easier to manage your money knowing what you can spend weekly rather than monthly.
Once you have laid out all of your need expenses, now you’re onto the fun part: figuring out your extra spending money is the best part. Before you get too excited you do have to get one thing out of the way before allocating money for spending and that is, determining your savings. For me, after all expenses are paid off, I like to save between 25-50% of the left-over money but since it is your budget, allocate what you want for savings.
After you decide how much you want to go into savings, determine any wants you may have. You could set $100 a week for shopping, $75 for going out to eat, and $25 for miscellaneous things. However you want to spend your extra money, make sure you write it down and stick to the budget. If there is a week where you need to spend more of your budget, make sure you subtract it from upcoming weeks in order to keep you on track. Also, if there is a week where you do not spend all of your allocated money on shopping, save it or add it to an upcoming week’s want spending!
If you find yourself tempted to spend money on something really unnecessary, learn to say no. It is OK to walk away from an item that you know you do not need. You do not need to have the shiny, new item to prove your worth and your wealth. If you want to buy an expensive “want” item, save up all your extra spending money until you can afford it but do not tap into your savings or avoid your budget.
If your budget is not working out or needs to be changed, you can tweak it to better fit your lifestyle. If you are struggling to stay on budget or need help creating a budget, talk to a financial planner. They can help you allocate your money accordingly so that you can afford your budget. Financial planners can also help you re-evaluate your budget if the current one is not suiting your needs. Adam Hogue is experienced in budget allocating and can help you get back on track with your finances today!