Budgeting, to families and people who have never done it, is a word that can cause anxiety, alarm, and even fights for couples.
But budgeting doesn’t have to be a dirty word.
A budget should be the most important part of your battle plan. It will free you and allow you to spend money on the things you need and want without guilt or shame. It will keep you on track to getting financial freedom.
Whether you’ve never created a budget before or you’ve been doing one your whole life, there’s always room for improvement. Through our journey for financial freedom my wife and I have found these three techniques have helped our budgeting process and also our communication.
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3 Techniques to Help You Budget Better
1. Admit You Are the Problem
This may seem like a no brainer or a very simple technique but this is by far the hardest one to conquer. You have to recognize that you are the only reason you are in this mess and then decide that from this moment on there will be a change. Decide that you are in control of your money, and then start being intentional with your income.
I know that before my wife and I started budgeting monthly there was communication on bills and money, but the communication normally was “Hey, we need to watch our spending until payday.” Fortunately we were able to pay our bills and had money left over, but it always felt like we we were just treading water.
The first month we did a budget and saw all of our income on paper we truly did not know where it was all going. Why don’t we have more money in our pocket each month? Why are we always waiting for the next paycheck to arrive? These were just a couple of the questions we asked ourselves.
We had to recognize that we were the problem and figure out how to address it in our budgeting process. No one else was eating out for us, no one else was making weekly trips to the grocery stores using our money because they forgot to meal plan, and certainly no one else was drinking our Starbucks coffees. Once we got through the admitted that we were the reason for our problems and then set a realistic budget, we really did feel more in control and like we had the money to not only reach our goals but also to fight for complete financial freedom.
2. Communicate Through Dreams
Whether this is with your spouse, with an accountability partner, or even just with yourself, communicating your dreams will give you goals and the motivation to continually try to reach them. As Chris Hogan, NY Times #1 Best Seller, says, “Dream in HD”. This will amplify your dreams and build them up. Let that thought of a secure and even lucrative retirement build and put more than just an age next to it. Amplify that dream with what your plans are during retirement. Amplify that dream with your numbers needed so you can make a plan a reality.
Dreaming with your spouse can be one of the best opportunities for communication. When my wife and I talk about our dreams, so much more than just the goal is discussed. When we are dreaming, we are planning and those plans aren’t just for us but for our family. Those dreams become our why, and our why becomes the motivation we need to get to the next step.
This is a word that I heard almost 15 years ago and has stuck with me ever since. When budgeting we must have an ability to stick to it! That means accountability and the ability to tell yourself NO. Sticking to anything takes a decision and having a why – that is why this is tip three.
This is a long term concept. Having the sticktuitiveness to apply your budget and maintain the numbers through the month is not always easy. However by using tips 1-2, it will be easier.
Just like when you are trying to create any other habit (or stop one), it takes a daily decision to do what you need to. When trying to get fit, you have to make up your mind every morning to go work out even when you don’t feel like it, or eat that salad instead of those cupcakes. That’s all willpower is, a decision. You don’t “have” willpower”, you create it. In order to win your fight for financial freedom, you have to wake up tomorrow morning and decide that you are going to stick to your spending plan, that you aren’t going to impulse buy that new TV, or go out to eat just because you don’t feel like cooking. You have to decide when to say no because its not in the plan. You have to decide everyday that you made the best decision of your life by deciding to get financially free, trust that decision, and stick to your battle plan!
So there you have it. Whether you are just starting out budgeting or you have been doing it for years, these 3 tips will take your budgeting and mindset to the next level.
Charles Moore is a veteran, rocket doctor, financial coach, and blogger. If you’ve decided its time for you to suit up and fight for your financial freedom, check out his website at www.CAMFinancialCoach.com where you can get information on the coaching process, package options, and an unbeatable library of knowledge on winning financial battles.