The word “budget” sometimes has a bad reputation, you may even get a little chill up your spine when you hear it. But it shouldn’t be a negative thing. Budgeting your money means you’re being SMART. It means you’re controlling your money instead of your money controlling you. It means you are deciding what is important to you and you are making a PLAN to get there. I like that word plan so much, I prefer to call a budget a “spending plan.” Doesn’t that sounds so much more free and organized at the same time?!
We live on a detailed spending plan. Everything from rent to postage stamps are in our budget. And when we stay true to our plan, we accomplish great things financially, like paying off $23,000 in two and a half years (making less than $40,000 a year at that point!!). It’s worth it friends, so, so worth it. Dave Ramsey says, “budgeting is like getting a pay raise.” And he is right.
Here are 5 ways to beat your budget this summer, and get a “pay raise”…
1. Use CASH Only – you will be absolutely amazed at how much you will save just by ditching the card. If we use a card, we have only the allotted amount in our account to spend. It is just too tempting and too easy to swipe the plastic.
2. Budget FREE Money – it’s okay to have a little extra cash on hand for a Starbucks splurge now and then, but put it in your plan. We’ve tried having each of us take an “allowance” each week, and we’ve also budgeted an amount each month. Either way works, it just depends on what works for you or you and your spouse – but be sure and follow tip #3…
3. STICK With It – when you run out of spending money, you don’t go get more. Have the discipline to set aside a small amount to spend and when it’s gone, it’s gone!
4. Set GOALS – when paying off loans or large bills it can seem overwhelming and unreachable. Setting smaller goals may help you to reach the big ones. We have used the “thermometer chart” and filled it in when we made payments. We have also set a time frame and wrote down an amount we wanted to pay each week. This has proved to be even more effective, and when we’ve done this we often beat our weekly goals which shortens the time frame!
5. Pay Everything IMMEDIATELY – we write a plan for every paycheck, including every expense we can think of, and we immediately send the checks out and pay the bills online. Then we transfer the leftovers to savings or wherever it is going. This makes a BIG difference in how that check is spent because it goes where it needs to go, otherwise it gets spent!!!
Good luck, and remember that you are being smart to control your money by writing a budget (or SPENDING plan). You can only accomplish debt-freedom when you believe it can be done, if you tell yourself it is impossible, then it will be for you!