Personal Financial Wellness
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© 2018-2020 Shake Your Money Tree


Is budget a four letter word in your house?


If so, then let's take a look at other ways we can frame it's so it doesn't feel like a four letter word!


I call budgeting my "spending plan" because it allows me to prioritize where I want to "spend" my money… fun stuff included! For example, when creating my spending plan for 2019, I included paying for a house cleaner once a month, which to me, is a godsend in time savings.


But the only reason I feel good about spending this money is because I know I can afford it, alongside all of my other priorities.


I realize that for some people, the word "budget" conjures up thoughts of restriction and of not being able to spend like they're used to, on the things they want - RIGHT NOW. But my question is… if we don't have a budget, aren't we just flying by the seat of our pants when it comes to money?


And then we wonder where it all goes…


Creating a spending plan is about finding a balance between wants and needs: to prioritize value-based spending that helps us reach our financial goals.


But what exactly is "value-based" spending?

Value-based spending is spending money on the things that we value. For example, I value hiring someone to clean my house. I value having a roof over my head. And I also value spending time with my nephews, which means I include a line item in my plan for weekends spent with them.


You see, over time, a spending plan helps us learn how to spend and save purposefully and mindfully, through balance and focused planning.


If you're finding it hard to stick to a budget, you're not alone!


Most people create a budget but think of it as a loose guide, or an "I spent this" tracker. Because of this, they don't pay attention throughout the month to what their spending plan tells them is okay to spend money on. So, they tend to justify expenditures that are either not in the budget or overages, and in turn, move money around, or stop caring about the plan completely and give up.


Let me tell you - this is human nature, and we're not to be chastised for it, but new habits require diligence, and sticking to a spending plan is no different.


So, let me offer up a few suggestions:


You need to have a big WHY for sticking to your plan. That why could be getting out of debt as quickly as possible because you are SICK. AND. TIRED. OF. IT. Or it could be to save for a new car or house or to leave your crappy job to follow your dream of starting your own gig. Whatever IT is, you need to figure it out and create some sort of visual reminder that stays close to you and your wallet.

Speaking of wallets, remove your credit cards from it immediately. You can't avoid temptation if it's still really easy to justify spending money on the fly. Better yet, carry only cash and leave even the debit card at home when you're out running errands. I know it's WAY too easy to stop by yet another store or pick up another item not on the list if the plastic is burning a hole in my pocket.

I also know Amazon makes it just too easy to spend, am I right? So here's a trick I've started using - put everything you think you want or need into a wish list, but leave it there for a week. Then, on a dedicated day of the week, you can devote to thinking about and working on your finances, look through your wish list and reconsider whether you really NEED or WANT those items. Then simply delete the purchases you don't, and move the ones you do into your cart. This helps put some distance between what you think you want and need, and the actual purchase (well, it will as long as you truly take into consideration what a want and need are to you!).


There is a myriad of ways to actually create a budget - from using an Excel spreadsheet to online apps and websites.


One of my favorites is ClearCheckbook* because it enables me to not only track my spending via an actual online checkbook but also create a regular budget and an envelope-based one.


What's the difference you ask? A regular budget is static, whereas, an envelope budget is for tracking actual cash spent.


Both budgeting systems work equally well within this site, but the envelope system works better when you're pulling actual cash out of your account and putting it into a physical envelope. While this works for some, I found it to be hard to carry actual cash around all the time.


So, instead of pulling out physical cash, I stash away that amount into an online envelope instead.


Keep in mind that one of the caveats of this site is that you can't connect your actual bank account to it, which means you need to manually enter all of your transactions and then reconcile them manually. But, that's one of the reasons I actually like this site over others - it requires me to take time to pay attention to my spending.


If that's not your thing though, there are plenty of other budgeting tools in the market, and all you need to do is Google "budgeting apps" to find them all. A few options are YNAB, Mint and EveryDollar.


I hope you can now see that budgeting doesn't have to be a four-letter word anymore!

There is true joy that comes from paying attention to where our money goes, rather than wondering where it all went. I've found that when I intentionally spend money, I feel better about it, and I get even more excited to see the savings grow in my bank account.


If you want to learn how to take control of your finances, once and for all, let me help you! Reach out today to set up a clarity consultation call to talk about what you're struggling with - no shame, and no blame!

#budget #getoutofdebt #spendingplan #2019 #budgetlikeaboss #shakeyourmoneytree #moneycoach #personalfinance #financialwellness


* Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.