If you’ve ever read a book or visited a website about personal finance, then I’m sure you were instructed to budget, and budget wisely. However, most people see the word “budget” and immediately think “no money to have fun,” which isn’t the case at all unless you’re buried under an enormous mountain of debt. So, for the majority, the negative connotation is cemented in their brain and they’ve lost all motivation to give this wonderful financial tool a shot.
The best budgets allow for “fun” types of expenditures, such as dining out and shopping. Why are these allocations vital to your budget’s success? It’s simple really. When you read, “$0.00 for dining out,” your ego feels constrained, suffocated by the finality of no eating out. It starts whining that it needs to eat out or else its life is depressing and boring. Of course, you may never eat out. But I guarantee, there is [at least] one area of your spending that isn’t a true necessity, and if you tried to reduce that spending to zero dollars every month, your ego would throw a temper tantrum.
The key to any successful budget is setting limits within which you can live comfortably while meeting your financial goals. Hence, the quickest way to ensure your budget’s failure is to set limits that are too rigid and nearly impossible to follow. This means you’re going to do some serious analysis of your money–where it’s coming from and where it’s going.
Don’t have a clue where your money’s going? No worries! My next post will delve deeper into the basics of budgeting by helping you figure out your personal and financial goals.
Single Moms and Budgeting, a multipart post on Unleash the Flying Monkeys!, explains the basics of budgeting, shows you how to create a budget, and shares valuable [online] resources, all of which will assist you in planning, implementing, and evaluating your personal budget.
© 2009 by Leah Saylor-Abney.