You have a financial plan, BUT you don’t stick to it. Welcome to the club ! As a credit risk assessment planner, I see many who know what to do but just can’t seem to stick with the plan to follow through. The word “budget” is like saying the word ‘diet” to a fat person. Taking control of your money is NOT hard, you can succeed, if you keep it simple !
1. Be realistic, everyone could save money if we didn’t have to eat. But you can cut your food budget 15% by planning ahead for shopping and meals. Make eating out a special occasion not a weekly event. Look for and take advantage of specials and coupons on groceries.
2. You maybe one of those people who design a detailed budget when you have not first documented what you actually spend. The detailed budget based on a wish list will create stress, not success. First you have to know where the money is going before you can attempt to take control of it. Track every nickel spent for 30 days, then evaluate. Tracking creates awareness enabling you to make better decisions. Correct bad habits with a personal audit at the end of every 30 days, learn from your mistakes.
3. ‘Enjoy the simple life.’ Look for ways to reward yourself for free ! A concert in the park, hiking, bike riding, camping, volunteering at a local soup kitchen or visit a museum. Doing something eliminates boredom –guaranteed. And doing something for free is rewarding as well.
4. Plan for the unexpected. Right off the top of all your income, set aside 5% for your emergency fund. Remember, your goal amount is six times your household expenses. By nature, most people learn to live on whatever the amount is coming in the house, if it goes up or down. So if you take the 5% off the top, you have set your priorities to survive any unexpected event, and you will figure out how to live on what is left.
5. Don’t panic, your personal spending plan is not carved in stone. If you spend more than you planned, put it down as a lesson to learn from. Keep your eye on your goals. But you still should reward yourself also. A reward at the end of the month is being realistic. If we don’t acknowledge what we are doing right, we don’t feel the benefit and we stop trying.
6. Don’t get hung up on the need to have super duper accounting or budgeting programs, those are stressful in themselves. Keep it simple. You have so much coming in and that is your boundaries. Determine your wants and needs, and then set your priorities to fit within those guidelines. You can succeed !
For assistance in structuring a personal spending plan to achieve your goals, contact Spectrum Resources (863) 967-0660 or email: SpectrumResources@tampabay.rr.com
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