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Congratulations, it is payday. You've waited two long weeks for that much needed and anticipated money to hit your bank account, perhaps in preparation for the weekend plans or for that pesky bill you've been waiting to pay, but haven't had the fund to do so.
In any event, you're finally sitting on a decent amount of money, but the issue that plagues most people isn't so much the idea of getting paid obviously but rather the idea that the money they received tends to disappear much quicker than they'd like it to, and, quite frankly, aren't sure why that is the case.
So, are you burning through your paycheck quickly, even before the next one arrives?
If the answer to that question is “yes,” you aren't alone. Not by far, actually. Plenty of people find themselves scrambling for extra cash even after only a few days upon payday for a variety of reasons. If your money is technically already spent before the check comes (meaning your expenses outweigh your income), then you aren't adhere to your budget or you desperately need one.
For the rest, you might be following those expenses vs. income budgets to a tee, but might find yourself in the category of extracurricular spending that is leaving you more than just a few dollars short every week or month.
Let's just all it a leaking budget.
Most of what ails the masses and consumers specifically is a penchant for spending when the money is available on certain products and services that are quite unnecessary. Take for instance the idea that you'll be inclined to pamper yourself first and then perhaps begin buying anything and everything for your home or car, such as expensive detail jobs on the latter and deciding that you need new towels, wash cloths, mats and rugs all through the former. Granted, those things aren't going to cost the proverbial arm and leg but they do tend to add up if they're something you do consistently, even though you don't need to.
As far as pampering yourself, if money is and has always been an issue, you should consider skipping the shopping spree or dinners out in favor of spending that first part of your paycheck on grocery shopping and then see what's leftover. You also want to be smart about eating out and stay within some sort of food budget when you're not prepping and eating at home.
Those who spend a few hundred dollars per week at the grocery store then another few hundred per month on eating at restaurants will rip through any paycheck, no matter how big it may feel at the time.
Being smart with your money starts with knowing your limitations and treating that paycheck more like another line item in your budget rather than found money.
For whatever reason many people get a little spooked when the thought of budgeting is brought up. Perhaps it is the fear of seeing where all of their money is going, or that in establishing a budget they realize that they would have to make some changes that they aren’t ready to fully accept. Or maybe they think it is too hard to do. Well, I am here to tell all of you that having a budget is something that all of us should have. Below are the top twenty reasons why each and every one of us should start budgeting:
1. A budget is a forecasting tool, so it lets you plan for your future. Instead of living day to day without a care in the world, which unfortunately is what many people do, establishing a budget can and does provide a kind of road map for your existence.
2. Budgeting is a tool that helps you reach your life goals. This is very close to the first example above, a road map is useless if you don’t know your destination, and so by having a budget in place can help you formulate goals that you wish to accomplish in regards to your money. You may want to save for the down payment for a house; without establishing a proper budget, that itemizes your expenses, you will not have any idea how much money you can afford to put aside for the down payment on your future house.
3. Every dollar you save by budgeting is better than a dollar you make working. I know what you are thinking right now, “What?!” But this is simply another way of saying Benjamin Franklin’s old saying, “A penny saved, is a penny earned.” Which simply means that the more you save the less you have to work; which doesn’t mean you can slack off at work; rather it just means that the more money you have in savings you already worked for, and it is now working for you. Whereas all future money still needs to be worked for. Kind of like the other old saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” You already have that money, which makes it more valuable than the money you don’t have. Trust me, it sounds confusing, when you really think about it this really does make sense.
4. It provides a platform for communication between a husband and wife. That is if you are married, but if you are, and have been for a while, establishing a budget together (and that is the key word TOGETHER) can and does give you something to talk about. I know it isn’t exactly what one would call pillow talk, but in every successful marriage communication is the key – particularly when it comes to the finances. Many a marriage has ended do to some sort of money woes; establishing a budget can nip the money worries in the bud.
5. It provides motivation. When you get a clear vision of your goals and see the progress that you are making towards those goals each month, you are motivated to continue forward; knowing that with each month you are one step closer to realizing what you set out to accomplish. After reaching your goals doesn’t mean that you can simply scrap your budget. If the goal is to have enough for the down payment on a house, and you achieve that and buy a house, there are going to be things that you probably will want to do with that house. Maybe some landscaping, or painting it, perhaps remodeling the kitchen or getting more or new furniture. As you can see, the realization of one goal opens up the possibilities of establishing many other goals.
6. Self-discipline. Most people always feel better when they are in control of themselves. As such establishing a budget can make you feel better when you start doing instead of start wishing – shoulda’, coulda’, woulda’ never accomplishes anything. Wishing is idle while doing is action, so quit being idle and start being active. You know the saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” Well this is another truism; you will find that many of those idle wishes will come true, once you start doing something to help bring them into fruition. The simple act of doing makes achieving your dreams become so much easier.
7. Budgeting brings to light your impulses and indulgences. When you always overspend on dining out, you know that is a personal weakness. Your budget lists everything that you spend money on, right there in black and white. You can now see where you are literally wasting money, and work to curb those spending habits.
8. Budgeting makes a way for you to indulge in your indulgences. If your family loves to vacation, then you wouldn’t be able to do it unless you said no to certain unimportant spending so you can focus on the spending that is important to your family. This goes right back to the setting of goals; some are long term such as saving for retirement, others aren’t as long, such as saving for that down payment on a house, and still others are shorter term, such as in this instance saving for the annual family vacation. Having a proper budget can afford you the ability to do all of these things and more.
9. Budgeting opens the door for more generous giving. When you control what you have, giving becomes easier; because you know what you have to give. Having a good budget can provide you with a peace of mind and generate a wealth effect, which makes giving feel good as well as easier.
10. A budget can teach you things about yourself. Remember number 7 above, here again your budget is right there in front of you and much like looking at yourself in the mirror, where all of your beauty and all of your flaws are visible, your budget does the same thing with how and where you spend money. Seeing it all written down like that could open your eyes to a spending habit you didn’t you had.
11. Makes your mom and dad proud. No matter how old you get, your parents will always worry about you, which is because you will always be their child. Putting together a budget will give them one less thing they will have to worry about. As you can see a budget not only gives you peace of mind, but it provides some peace of mind to your mother and father.
12. A budget is a tool can use to see if your spending patterns and habits need to change. Again much like numbers 7 and 10. Your budget will reveal where you are literally wasting money, and put a dollar amount on it. This can be quite the eye opener for many people, actually force a change in their spending habits.
13. A budget can force some organization into the lives of the unorganized. Hey I admit it, I am not a very organized person and upon doing my first budget I realized how unorganized I really was with regards to how I was spending my money. Having my budget I became a far more responsible person with my money, because it organized my spending. Unfortunately I could still use some work in other organizational skills.
14. A budget helps you save for expenses you always wish you could buy. This goes right back to goal setting. If you want that 50 inch flat-screen television, instead of putting it on a high interest rate credit card, and taking months to pay it off. Why not budget for it, which means to save for it, and then buy it outright wish cash. This will save a lot of money that you would have spent on interest financing it. Plus you will have the personal satisfaction of knowing that it is bought and paid for and of accomplishing your goal.
15. Having a budget is probably one of the most cost effective uses of your time. This alludes to numbers 7 and 10 again, in that once you know where you are wasting money, you now also know how to eliminate the waste and actually save that money.
16. Creates a creative challenge allowing you to do more with your money than you ever thought possible. By eliminating your wasteful spending habits and trimming other expenses raises and interest dilemma, and that is what to do with the extra money you now have. Doesn’t that sound like a problem you would like to have? Often times a budget puts everything into focus because a part of a successful budget is weighing your needs versus your wants. In doing so many people, once they have reduced their expenses, realize that they pretty much have all that they need, so they actually begin wanting less; which means that they are spending less. This actually leads them into the problem of having more money than they know what to do with.
17. Puts your mind at ease when you know you’ll have money for all the bills before the month even begins; as well as in case of an emergency; and peace of mind is priceless.
18. Budgeting is an important tool for anyone trying to build wealth. This is like number 16 above, if and when you reach the point of not knowing what to do with some of your excess money; perhaps you should invest a portion of it and make it work even harder for you, so you can achieve the ultimate long-term goal (there’s that word again) of a comfortable retirement.
19. A budget is one of the best ways to find money. You’ll find it hiding in your own income; well actually it will be hiding in your expenses, because those are far easier to control than your income is. Trimming your expenses is the best way to find extra money; not under the sofa cushions.
20. Allows you to spend less time working and more time doing the things in life you really love. Yes that is right, when you have the peace of mind that your expenses are covered and you have your spending under control; you will be able to relax a little. Obviously this doesn’t mean you become a slacker at work, but because you are now saving more money than you were, you will be able to afford taking the occasional long vacation. Whereas in the past, without a budget, you were probably constantly working because you were living paycheck to paycheck, so a vacation was certainly out of the question. Also, by spending less and saving more could lead to an earlier retirement and who wouldn’t want to be retire early, I know I would.