This post is sponsored by My Mazuma. All opinions expressed are my own.
The key to financial wellness and saving money is budgeting. Unfortunately, budgeting often gets a bad rep. It’s time to change that.
Stop Blaming Budgeting: Tips to Embracing Budgets
Let’s face it, budgeting tends to get a bad reputation. Like an ominous figure lurking in the dark outside your house… you tend to assume the worse.
Often times, people blame budgets for their financial restrictions. They’ll say things like, “We can’t do that, it’s not in the budget;” as if the act of budgeting caused them to lose money. However, no offense, those folks are looking at it all wrong.
Budgeting doesn’t cost you money. Nope, the act of budgeting can help you find opportunities for saving money and free up funds so that your family can achieve all of their financial goals.
Yep, it’s possible to live a good life and achieve your financial goals on a budget, and with the right financial literacy and financial resources, it’s easier than you may think. Here are a few tips to get you thinking about budgets in a more positive light.
#1 – Define Your Goals
The first step in any financial wellness journey is to define what you want. In other words, what are your financial goals and dreams?
Remember, dreaming is free but you should try to be realistic here. Setting unrealistic (unattainable) goals is just setting yourself up for failure.
Think about what your family wants to accomplish in the present as well as in the near and distant future. Goals might be focused around putting the kiddos through college, retirement, that dream vacation, paying off student loans, or anything else you and your family want to achieve.
Having goals will make you feel better about sacrificing other financial luxuries. For example, when you say “We can’t buy that new flat screen TV,” you won’t blame your stupid budget…you’ll be thinking about how that money staying in the savings account is getting you one step closer to retiring early! 🙂
# 2 – Start Budgeting
Now it’s time to start saving money (by budgeting)!
The problem is a lot of people don’t really know what a budget is, how to set one up, or how to adhere to one. When they think of budgeting they picture some complicated and utterly boring process akin to doing taxes. It isn’t like that at all (I promise)!
At it’s core, budgeting is just documenting how much money you have coming in (ex. your salary) and how much money you have going out (ex. all your bills) and living within those parameters. That’s it.
The first step is to just be a record keeper. You can do that, right? You just document all the money coming in and where all of it goes. Thanks to online bank statements, documenting your spending habits, bills, etc. is easier than ever.
Tip: I recommending downloading these simple free printable budget worksheets to get started.
Once you understand where your money is going it’s time to start looking for opportunities for saving money. This is where budgeting can be sort of like a puzzle or challenging mind game. Where can you cut back? Remember, every penny counts.
Tip: Be realistic here! If you create a budget that is too restrictive you will not stick to it. For example, saying you’re never going to eat out again or get coffee at your favorite cafe is setting yourself up for failure.
#3 – Improve Your Financial Literacy
There are many (many) online resources that can help you get a deeper understanding of budgeting, saving money, and all things financial. Best of all, many of these resources are completely FREE!
Utilize these resources to not only help you get a better understanding of the financial world but to also get helpful tips and tricks to make saving money easier than ever. For instance, one free online resource I’m a big fan of is MyMazuma.
MyMazuma is a Wisconsin based startup with a mission of providing financial literacy and financial educational resources to everyone. They have tons of great tools and articles on just about every financial topic. All of their resources are totally free and trustworthy. MyMazuma staff works to ensure that no resources are misleading and they don’t get any compensation from the folks that post on their community.
#4 – Track and Revise as Needed
Once you’ve implemented a budget, it’s vital that you continue to track your spending and adjust as needed. Your family’s income, expenses, and goals are very likely to change over time. The budget that works today may not work tomorrow. Keep tracking and keep looking for opportunities for saving money.
Once you feel like you have the budgeting basics under control consider upgrading to a slightly more robust budget planner like this free printable budget binder. With the free printable budget binder you can set up financial goals, track monthly expenses, and assess your progress toward reaching your goals.
Budgeting isn’t the bad guy. In fact, I would say budgets are an often unsung hero among us. Embrace budgeting today, and get your family started on the path to financial wellness!