5 Reasons Budgeting is Easier Than You Think
The dreaded b-word can sound like an overwhelming nightmare when you’re standing in the midst of financial chaos and not sure where to start. When you’ve never created or lived on a budget, it’s hard to understand what it truly does and how it can completely change your life. I’ve been there. Budgeting felt like a ridiculously complicated process and I just wasn’t sure it would be worth it, much less that I could even figure out how to do it. Then I tried it and completely fell flat on my face.
Ok, so maybe now I’m not calming your fears about budgeting, but stick with me. When you have no idea where to start, it’s hard to put all the puzzle pieces together because you can’t see the finished picture yet. When I tried and failed at budgeting, I had very little guidance and I just didn’t understand how to make it happen. I don’t want you suffering from the same kind of overwhelm I did, so I have broken down the budgeting process into 7 Easy Steps to Create a Budget. But if you’re still not convinced you can do this, let’s explore 5 reasons why budgeting is easier than you think.
Related: 7 Easy Steps to Create a Budget
Related: Why You Need a Budget
Budgeting is actually a simple and easy process. The hardest part will be changing your spending habits as you learn to live with the budget you’ve created. Just remember to give yourself some grace and know that you won’t always be perfect. I recommend committing to budgeting for at least 90 days (3 months, 3 monthly budgets) to allow yourself to really get a grasp of budgeting and to work out some of the kinks. After the first three months, you will feel much more confident about budgeting. The thing is, we all have dreams and goals of where we want to go or where we want to be in the future and a budget is one of the best tools to help you get there.
5 REASONS BUDGETING IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK
1. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a finance degree to create a budget, you only need to know third grade math. When creating a budget, all you are doing is taking all the income you bring in and subtracting all the money you spend. Income minus expenses equals budget. The math is simple. The complicated part people get hung up on is organizing all the information and staying on top of tracking expenses throughout the month. But never fear.....
2. There are a ton of apps out there that do most of the work for you. These apps are designed to help streamline the process of budgeting for you and many of them can be synced to your bank account so the transactions automatically show up and all you need to do is categorize them. This can save you a lot of time and stress when it comes to keeping up with budgeting and tracking expenses throughout the month. I highly recommend EveryDollar (created by Dave Ramsey) and you can get started for free. Some other great apps are YNAB, Mint, Quicken, and we could go on. Any of them will help make the process easier for you.
3. You’re the boss of the budget! When it comes to budgeting, it’s nice to remember that you’re in control. The budget is only going to do what you tell it to. So be the boss, make a plan, and then stick to it. You are the CFO (chief financial officer) of your household, and the budget is going to give you the control to tell your money where to go instead of recklessly spending everything you make and living paycheck to paycheck. Your spouse is the only person that can tell you what to do with the budget (and you’ll be working together on it anyway). If you want to save for a new piece of furniture, you can decide that. If you want to get rid of your debt, you can work towards that. The choices are yours, and the budget will help you stay on track with keeping your choices priority.
4. You’re only budgeting for your household and all you really need to do is organize your spending habits before you spend it rather than afterwards. We’re all human and we can easily over complicate things. Don’t get hung up on all the budget categories and making it look perfect. You’re only budgeting for your household, not for some big corporation. There are only so many ways in which you’re already spending money, so you only need to organize those. You just have to dive in and start somewhere and stop trying to complicate the process before you even get started. As mentioned before, the budgeting apps will help with this because they will start you off with a basic template that will get you started.
5. No matter where you are with your financial situation, you can get started with a budget now. There’s no qualification to getting started with a budget. If you have money coming in and going out, you can make a budget. It doesn’t matter how much debt you have, what your mortgage payment looks like, if you even have a mortgage, or how you’re going to save for a retirement. A budget works for everyone. All you need to do is record all the income you plan to have coming in for the month and subtract out all the money you’re going to spend (or save) for the month until you get to zero. It’s really that easy.
Related: The Zero Based Budget Method
If you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to start, just know that you are not alone. I think most of us have felt that way about getting started with a budget. We fear what we don’t know or don’t understand. But rest assured budgeting is going to be easier than you think. You don’t need a financial degree, you only need simple math and the ability to make choices. Download one of the apps to help make the process easier. Remember that you need to give yourself 3 months of committed budgeting to work out all the kinks and get a hang for it. And just get started.