You sit down, look at your income and expenses, and write down the numbers. Everything looks good and you’re excited for this new plan. You think “this time will be different; this time I will stick to the budget.” Then two weeks later you are blindsided by an unexpected cost. Or a month later you realize you’ve been spending more eating out than the restaurant line in your budget. Gah!
If this scenario has never happened to you, you may be one of two types of people. The first type scores high in the accountant category on aptitude tests. The second type has never tried budgeting.
For the rest of us, this is all too familiar! We go through this experience about once or twice a year, then we eventually stop the madness by committing to a budget-less life. This is exactly why I threw out all the rules I had learned before and created my own budget system – there must be a better way!
After nearly a decade of working with amazing people in all income categories and walks of life, I have learned what it takes to create a budget that really, truly works. Below you’ll find a link to download my template for free and here are the top 3 strategies that will help you have the success you’ve been looking for.
1) Realize your budget is a plan for your money. It’s not an analysis of what you spent last month (however, this is an important piece to keep in mind). Think of it like a map for your money to follow.
2) Be realistic. Convincing yourself that you can completely cut out all coffee shops, drive-thru’s and restaurants is setting yourself up for failure. Give yourself money to spend. (this is called lifestyle budgeting)
3) Plan for current needs first. Then future needs. Then wants.