To some people even mentioning the word budget can cause them to go into a bull horned frenzy. If I mention saving money is about “budgeting” not “bargain basement” they stare at me like I’m talking a foreign language. Bargain basement meaning that just because you think you are saving by getting deals doesn’t mean you are doing it all right.
I don’t delve into deep conversations with friends and colleagues about my personal situation but in idle chatter I am stunned to hear how so many are in financial ruins and desperate for a way out.
Over the years I used to think saving was making sure an account was growing with interest in the bank. I always made sure I spent less than I made from a young age. Stashing my paper route money away was where it all began.
I purchased my first condo at 21 and later sold it to buy a house at 23. I later sold that home and purchased a modest home with the Mrs. at 32 due to a move out of the city for work. Being the simple guy that I am I was never materialistic but I did love to travel and still do.
Last year in Jan 2011 I sat down at the computer and decided to design a budget for the Mrs. and I. It took some work and I continue updating the budget format to simplify it. After one year I can clearly see why mentioning the word “budget” and people turn their heads. There is work involved so you must be organized and diligent in accounting all expenditures. Once you have the hang of it the routine sets in and it’s fairly robotic in nature.
When you begin it seems almost as if you are on a diet and you need to watch every calorie travelling down the tunnel. Although not seemingly as harsh the reality is that budgeting is difficult for most as they don’t believe they have the time nor the money to warrant the bother. It takes a good 3 to 6 months to see where you have been heading in order to make necessary changes. It did in our case, at least.
If I could change your mind and tell you it was the best thing we had ever done and continue to do, it will be in this blog. We realized we weren’t saving to our maximum potential and strive to change that at every opportunity. We have since made some drastic changes but changes that will change our lives for the better.
The most important advice I could give to everyone is to pay attention and know your finances inside and out. If in a relationship work together to achieve financial goals, love and happiness. Save and start early, you will be glad you did! There’s no excuse, everyone can do it, invest the time in your future!
Have you recently made a budget? What have you learned thus far?
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