I cannot emphasize strongly enough how much I love budgeting. To hear people talk, it’s the hardest thing in the world, takes tons of time, and never works. Au contraire, mon ami’s. Budgeting is better than cake. Here’s an example.
My family visited from Indiana this weekend, and I wanted to treat them to a nice tremendously expensive dinner. While I can swing something like this for a special occasion, I’m not yet a VIP member of the monocle and top-hat set. So, here comes budgeting to save the day!
Here’s how it works: before the beginning of the month, I start thinking about how much I want to spend and what bills I have coming up. (It’s pretty easy if you keep track of your spending in a computer program or spreadsheet.) Then I figure up how much money I have coming in this month. So now I have a number, my expected income, and a list of expenses and the expected amount. Here comes the magic: I get a piece of paper and write it down. Then I do as the paper says for the month. Seriously, that’s all there is to it.
It’s deceptively easy, but here’s what makes it so powerful: you’re thinking about how much you have and what you need to spend it on before you do it. It’s hard for me to articulate how freeing this is. I can spend money on what I’ve already decided to spend it on without a second thought. Having the money set aside meant I could enjoy my family and my pricey entrée (Seafood Platter, I’ll have you know) without a moment’s concern.
I love my budget; and I bet if you give one a shot, you will too.