Budgeting To Better Your Life
#1. Map your income and your expenses.
#2. Dream, make goals.
#3. Match each goal to a time frame.
Budgeting: The Slow and SteadyWe all know that a budget will make things easier. I avoid it because I don't want to micro-manage myself. I do not enjoy computers (yes, there is irony in my job and my desires). I do not enjoy the idea of money (yes, there is irony in my interests and what I write about).
I'm a people person. I learned something crucial that transferred very well to my neglected financial life: If I don't like someone, I just don't know them yet. And I learned if I spend more time at home then I spend less money.
If I don't like computers and I don't like money and I don't like budgeting then -- I need to spend some time with it.Because I must not know it yet. It's a rather brave attitude towards our fears, and I highly recommend it.
As a life practice, anywhere I feel friction, resistance or tension that is where I give the most attention. If a child makes a drawing and says, "I messed up. I need a new piece of paper." I ask, "Where did you mess up?" The child will point, and flip the paper over, crumple it up, cover it with their hand. The feeling of messing up is bad. It's shame, embarrassment, rejection, grief, loss of potential.
BUT the light bulb clicks if I say, "Where did you mess up? There? Oh, that's not a mess up..that's your artist brain learning to tell you what's not done yet'" Relief. And they add a little bit, and they like it.
Life Lesson: Look at what you don't like. Get comfortable with it.
My bookkeeping would make an accountant cringe. I'm an artist by heart, if not by full-time trade. Cloudbased booking helps.
I have approached those three steps:
#1. Map your income and your expenses.
#2. Dream, make goals.#3. Match each goal to a time frame.
frequently and often in the last 4 years. I wasn't getting much better.
I had the classic try-it-out-20's for a millennial...multiple jobs - pay coming in at odd times. The joke, "I just work odd hours; I'm not a ditz." Bills coming in at odd times. The time frame part I really struggled with. I know what bills I have and I am paid up, by the grace of God I know, but I cannot make them match up predictably to my "time frame".
A friend got a mortgage and I learned something that gave me a budgeting and time frame epiphany.
She could pay her mortgage for LESS YEARS saving thousands of dollars IF she paid the SAME AMOUNT biweekly. Pay at the end of the month, pay longer. Pay half and then pay half, you save SO much money. BIWEEKLY.
Executing this budget has been easier and actually even easier than: JUST DON'T SPEND, which I have to say was my go to for years, and it did keep my head above water. Read more tips here.
No matter what or when I get paid - I collect it in biweekly amounts. If the pay varies greatly I take the minimum (using anything over that to accomplish long term goals). For example, I might make more but at least I make $10/hour. I might sell some artwork, something on ebay...and that extra money can go into an entertainment or vacation fund - that otherwise doesn't exist in a one-income-one-dependent household...
Life is full of rainbows and butterflies with my finances in order, and now that things aren't week to week, pay check to pay check...our quality of life is better, too. If anything bad happened and I needed an emergency fund, then I have it. If I unhappily think about the burden of my kid going to school with nothing like I did...it's okay because I'm fixing it. If I have a few hours with nothing to do I will probably use them to make some extra money because otherwise a fun-fund isn't going to happen.
The ideal percentage break down is:
60% - Monthly Expenses
10% - Debt (preferably long-term savings)
10% - Retirement (invest it)
10% - Fun-Money
10% - Short-term savings (tithe?or pay off debt)
It's the ideal within the PRACTICAL.
Get your finances in (better) order than mine. The Sub Prime Credit Store has a section for your budget and LOTS more tools to make have you feeling A-Ok about yourself, too.