We work hard for our money, so it only makes sense that we should be sure we are spending it wisely. That’s where a household budget comes in. It’s a great tool for us to be able to see at a glance what money we have coming in, what is going out (and what that money is paying for) and if there is anything left at the end of the month to put into savings.
Now, before we dive into what exactly a budget can do for us, let’s consider for a moment what will happen if we are NOT tracking our income and expenses…
For one, we can end up spending more than we are making in any given month (or two, or three). Over time, that can put us into some pretty hot water financially. I know that for a fact!
We may also end up spending a lot more than we’d like to believe on things that aren’t necessities, such as dining out, going to movies, or buying new clothes. Sometimes those small, instant gratification purchases end up being our downfall when they add up.
Having a budget gives us more control over where we want to really spend our hard earned cash. Maybe that’s dinner and a movie, but maybe it isn’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an actual choice?
It Tracks Where Your Money Is Going
A budget simply tracks your money. You record where the money comes from each month (your income) and then write out everything you spend it on, starting with your regular monthly bills like mortgage or rent, car payments, utility bills etc. What’s left after all the bills are paid is your discretional income.
Helps You Identify Things You Waste Money On
Having it all in front of you in black and white helps you identify things you’re wasting your money on.
It makes you reconsider if you really want to spend well over $200 a month on Cable TV or $150 on your large cell phone plan. Or how about that yearly magazine subscription to something you no longer read? Go through your expenses and reevaluate if this is REALLY how you want to spend your pay check.
Allows You To Be Proactive About Savings
Saving money without a budget is hard. We go in with the best of intentions at the beginning of the month, but somehow there isn’t anything left at the end of the month.
A budget gives you a chance to be a bit more proactive. Set aside some money for savings at the beginning of the month, even if it’s just $20. Put it in the budget as a regular expense, just like you do with your other urgent bills. If you need to, open a separate savings account so you’re not tempted to spend it.
Ensures You’re Not Spending More Than You’re Making
Most importantly, your budget will keep you on track and help you make sure you’re not spending more than you’re making. And I don’t have to tell you that that’s pretty important for your financial well-being.
Do you keep a household budget? Are you able to stick to it? How has it helped you? Let me know in the comments!
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