A lot of moms have a negative view of budgeting and planning their finances. It’s too much work, there is too little money, and it’s stressful to come up with a plan that is agreeable to both them and their spouse. They frequently feel broke, stressed, panicked, or guilty about money, but they don’t know how to fix the problem, and so they keep plugging on, never finding peace. If this is you, there is a better way. You need a budget!
A budget clarifies your life priorities and goals – We all have priorities in life, but things of lower priority will quickly overtake much higher priorities if we don’t have a plan. Even billionaires do not have an unlimited amount of resources, and choices have to be made. Make those choices on purpose! Putting your financial priorities on paper causes you to question them and analyze your plan. Do you really intend your cable bill to keep you from being able to take a vacation? Would you rather eat out more and retire later or eat at home more often and retire sooner? Do you want a smaller house and a nicer car or an older car and a nicer house? Do you intend to help your child pay for college? How much of your income do you want to give to charity and to helping the less fortunate? You can answer these questions however you want to, because these are YOUR priorities (and your spouse’s priorities, if you’re married). Determine what your goals for your money are, assign a purpose to every cent of income, and get your money working for you. Yes, budgeting takes some effort, but it’s far easier than the stress, frustration, and guilt of not living your priorities.
A budget allows you the guiltless freedom to buy according to your goals – Some people think that a budget holds them back from doing what they want to do and buying what they want to buy. However, the truth is exactly the opposite! If you make a plan and allocate money to your top priorities, then you have the freedom to carry out that plan knowing that you are doing exactly what you want to do. When I know that I have the money in my clothing fund or vacation fund, then I can buy that adorable pair of shoes or book those plane tickets guilt-free. We planned to use the money that way and that is what I SHOULD do with it! Ahhhh, freedom. If you have trouble throughout the month sticking to the budget you’ve made, check out Dave Ramsey’s envelope system.
[Groceries are high on the budgetary priority list]
A budget reduces stress and financial emergencies – It’s guaranteed that you will eventually have an urgent car repair, home repair, or unexpected medical bill. If you have planned and saved for these inevitable events ahead of time, your stress will be greatly reduced. Of course, if you like living on the edge, and don’t want to budget for emergencies, go for it! But at least own it, create a written budget, and clarify what your priorities really are.
Your money is one of your greatest resources. Have you ever noticed that broke people cannot help others or contribute to the causes they care about? They are living haphazardly and are always in “emergency mode”. It doesn’t have to be that way. By making a plan, you can ensure that your most important priorities are accomplished and you’ll experience a lot less guilt and stress along the way.
Do you have a budget? Have you found it to be helpful?
If you don’t budget, what are the barriers that prevent you from doing so?