7 No-Excuse Budgeting Tips
Take charge of your money once and for all.
Budgeting is never easy. However, it is absolutely necessary in order to take charge of your finances. If you’ve been putting off budgeting, stop the excuses and start now. You deserve the financial security, comfort and peace of mind that come with being in control of your money. Here are 7 real-world tips.
1. Put it on paper.
Write down ALL of your monthly “musts” (these are your needs –– rent, mortgage, utilities, auto expenses, insurance, fees, savings, etc.) Then, write down your list of “maybes” (these are your wants –- new clothes, dinners out, travel, decorating, etc.) Religiously set aside money for your musts. Any monies left over can go toward your maybes, BUT only after all musts are covered.
2. Find a budgeting system that works for you.
Some people will keep an online or printed list of their “musts” and “maybes”. Others will go so far as to hang their lists on their kitchen or home office wall. We know of one person who color codes her stack of bills each month with post-it notes, saving pink post-it’s (her favorite color) for her stack of maybes. Use whatever system you want –– if it works for you, it works!
3. Focus on happiness (be a glass half-full, not half-empty, kind of person)
Everyone lets the tough parts of life get to them, but the harder you work to maintain a positive attitude about whatever crosses your path, the less likely you’ll be to sabotage your budgeting by using “retail therapy” to get over the blues.
4. Make a plan for the future.
At Lenox, we have our clients do a quick exercise called “Future Focus”. We ask you to look ahead and write down how you want your life to be in three years. Then, we help you set a plan and work backward to get to where you want to be. The trick here is set the plan. Without a plan, you never have a map for your future, the motivation to build your skills and career in the right direction, or the subconscious reminders that encourage savings and discourage unnecessary spending.
5. Change your mindset as to where you find fulfillment.
It can be a pivotal moment in life when you realize that buying and owning a lot of stuff doesn’t always feel as fulfilling as you had hoped. Yes, it can be fun in the short-term to shop, buy and accumulate, but if in the long-term it derails your budget and puts you in serious debt, the initial rush of happiness will fade to lingering guilt and angst. Look for other ways to find fulfillment. Think fitness, volunteering, conquering a new hobby, improving your cooking skills, building something from scratch, starting your own business, you name it.
6. Unsubscribe from retailer emails.
The sales and deals are amazing, right? If you don’t buy it now, you’ll never get it again at that price. Plus, you get free shipping and free returns, so why not order it. Before you submit your order, STOP! Retailers do an excellent job of enticing us to buy things we don’t need. Don’t let them undo your budget. You’re smarter and stronger than that. Put items in online “shopping carts” but wait 24 hours before you make a purchase. You may forget you even had things in your cart (proof they weren’t all that important). Try NOT purchasing anything after dinnertime. A glass or two of wine and your common sense and self-control dissipate. Or just flat out unsubscribe –- no temptation, no damage done.
7. Learn to say “no”.
You don’t need to just work and not do anything else, but be selective in how you spend your discretionary monies. If your budget won’t support traveling to the remote island for the bachelor party, say thanks but “no”. If your friend constantly gives you pricey gifts and you can’t reciprocate without bashing your budget, suggest the two of you have a nice dinner instead. If your best buddies are constantly going on weekend getaways, pick one or two trips you can afford, but don’t get pressured into spending money you don’t have just to fit in. Real friends will understand.
At Lenox, we work closely with people of all ages to help guide you in every aspect of your financial life –– from budgeting and savings, to career planning and coaching, to paying off debt, funds for education, wealth creation, wealth building and wealth management. Looking at the big picture is one more way we help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.
If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more. Let’s talk. It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review. Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.
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This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.