YOUR MONEY YOUR RULES YOUR CONSEQUENCES
Budgeting strategies may not what you want to read about but money is life which means you either choose to accept the consequences of failing to learn about it or become a money managing success.
After taking a few days to reflect our CBB budgeting journey I’ve come to realize that my role here is that of a financial motivator and nothing more.
Break the cycle if you want change in your life
I’m no expert and don’t work in the finance field but I do know how to budget, save and get rid of debt even while balancing money on a tight budget.
Yes, we’ve been there and were scared to death about not knowing if we could make ends meet but we made it. The first time we started to budget was a few months after buying our first home Mrs. CBB lost her job and then fell ill.
In an instant we were left in the unknown zone.
We went from being a dual-income couple to a single-income and pretty much stayed that way until we sorted our money situation out.
Honestly, we thought it was going to be a financial train-wreck for us but what it turned out to be was a blessing in disguise.
The best thing you can do is stay calm and find the positives in your situation.
I don’t know if we would be where we are today without having to deal with our money head-on like we did.
Motivation for Budgeting Success
Over the past 6 years of budgeting Mrs. CBB and I have managed to drastically improve our savings power by incorporating the budgeting strategies I will be talking to you about today.
Why do budgeting strategies matter? Because, you care about your money, that’s why.
The choice is yours.
No one cares about your money more than you ever will
This means that when you get into a financial rut good luck finding someone to help bail you out with free money or handouts. For those of you who have turned to flipping credit cards you’ve found out the hard way.
Even banks will turn you away when looking for a loan if you don’t have any collateral or equity in home.
These days just about everyone is struggling to stay above water.
Money Can Ruin Or Improve Your Life
Having to face problems when it comes to money is not something anyone wants to deal with especially after the holidays into the new year but it must be done.
Just recently a fan wrote me about her friend asking for money to get through the Christmas holiday two days before Christmas.
This was not a small chunk of change either.
She had asked to borrow over $2000 which to anyone would seem excessive to purchase a few gifts for two children and a delicious turkey dinner.
Whatever her reasons were behind having to step up to ask a friend for cash so close to Christmas will never be known. What bothers me the most is why people wait until the last-minute when it comes to their money problems.
The circle of money can tear you apart.
I like to categorize such people as part of the Avoid and Stress Money Cycle which means spending money and dealing with the consequences after the fact.
Does that sound like you?
If it does, you’re not alone and I encourage you to dump that mindset NOW.
Perhaps you are in denial but if you aren’t using a budget and you have debt you are struggling to pay back then maybe at one point you were in the cycle which helped fuel your financial difficulties.
Although there are many reasons why people go into debt there are hundreds of reasons why you should not stay there especially if you want to improve your lifestyle.
By this I mean having the ability to make choices with your money rather than your money telling you what it’s going to do.
Debt Owns You
When you are in debt the only choices you have are to pay that debt off because debt owns you. This is where debt freedom steps in because once you pay your debts off the weight is lifted from you.
If you avoid debt it still owns you but with an even tighter grip because interest accumulates and having to deal with creditors and possibly bankruptcy is a financial road you don’t want to venture down.
The ironic thing is that most people who are struggling with money don’t always have to be because they are simply spending more than they earn.
Personally, I know low-income earners who can make ends meet and I can assure you they are doing everything they can to make budget cuts that fit their lifestyle. It may not be their ideal lifestyle but they make it work because they don’t want or need more money stress.
I know I may get into all sorts of crap for saying this and I know there are valid situations out there where people fall into financial despair. There are also people who avoid dealing with it and are better at complaining than finding solutions to their money problems.
There are legitimate people who simply can’t balance a budget because they don’t earn enough money which is why finding extra income sources should become a priority.
Even then if you don’t know where your money is going and don’t have any sort of accountability that extra money is blowing in the wind. It may get you by month to month but that’s about it and if you do save something, good for you.
Will it make you happy? Perhaps but you can do even more with your money with a bit of due diligence.
Rich in Debt
Then there are the people who do earn a good income but just blow themselves into debt and everyone sits back and scratches their heads, why? You have money to save and free yourself from the debt devil yet you choose to stand in the hot fires of hell and burn.
Save before you spend
Consumerism gets the best of everyone but the choice is up to you how you manage your money.
The problem with the above scenarios is that managing money is not easy even if you earn a good income. Believe it or not there are many low-income earners who excel at saving money and budgeting because they are invested in their financial fortune.
That’s the key to financial success, it really is. Accumulating wealth starts with eliminating debt and building wealth.
Sometimes the older we get the less we need but what we want can always be worked towards a little at a time by saving before spending. You know that trip you’ve always wanted to take? That’s what I’m talking about.
Evaluate your Money
Either way you look at money if the person(s) running the finances doesn’t stop at the red light you will burn through money left, right and centre because the police will always catch you.
By this I mean the bills will always find you and if you don’t pay them in full they will haunt you until you have nothing because what you do have can all be taken away.
If it can happen it will happen so be prepared.
It’s a reality that some people don’t want to hear about because it won’t happen to them. The blind-eye effect doesn’t work so well because it knocks you the hell out and that’s when you’ll wake up fast with a giant headache.
Budgeting Strategies To Boost Your Savings Power
What are your reasons for budgeting?
Understanding why you want to budget your money is first and foremost a priority. For us we started to budget because we had a mortgage and one income and we knew that we could do better with tracking expenses.
We were beyond amazed after our first year of budgeting at how much money we were spending. This helped us understand the areas we needed to improve on the following year. That first year of budgeting was a stepping stone into debt freedom, something we only dreamed of before buying our house.
In that first year there were 3 budgeting strategies that we incorporated into our lifestyle, Accountability, Money Saving and finally and most importantly Budget Updates.
Talk about spending to incorporate accountability into your family financial goals. If you are not part of a family or in a relationship where money is combined then you are accountable to yourself.
This means that you still have to set money goals by writing them down and tracking them like you would if you were married.
We found the best way to motivate accountability was to talk to each other about large purchases and to both jump into the budgeting process together.
A budget will only work if the person(s) behind it are in it 100%. By the way if you are in need of a budget spreadsheet you can download the same budget we use for free!
Stretch Your Money
This is the part where you find all of the way frugal ways to stretch your dollar to save money because that’s what money smart people do.
It doesn’t matter how much money you earn you’re not entitled to a certain lifestyle without first understanding how far your money can go.
With a budget you can fail and without a budget you can fail
Always be prepared when it comes to getting the best deal you can for the purchases you make.
This also includes household utilities, groceries, transportation and so on. Each budget category needs to be reviewed to figure out how you can stretch the money every month.
Budget updates were not something we did right from the start but the further into educating ourselves about money it became relevant. It was important to know where we stood each month. This is why we’ve documented our monthly budget updates on this blog for the past 6 years.
You will learn more about the way you spend and save your money by evaluating your success and failures which you should never be afraid of. We’ve made plenty of budget mistakes along the way but we worked even harder the next month to correct those set-backs.
Simply sitting down together once your monthly budget is tabulated for review will hold you both accountable.
I’ve read countless stories where something happens and the living spouse/partner has no idea about family finances. Don’t make this be your biggest money mistake.
Share the responsibility so you both know how to look after each other in the event of illness or death.
You Can’t Lose With A Budget
Make this year the year you get your budget back on track or even start using one to better the way you manage your money.
Budgeting strategies are simple to incorporate so do yourself a favour and become your own motivational money manager .
You’ll be glad you did.