Since I was little, my mom has always told me that I need to be better with my money. I would then run to the Dollar Store and spend my entire allowance on getting candy or other things that I just HAD to have. And then I would be “dying” and impatiently waiting for getting my next allowance. When I was 14 and I got a job, my mom would tell me to make sure that I was putting money away in my savings account. I would put it in my savings account and then promptly take it out to buy more “necessities” that I was convinced I needed. I have spoke about my woes with student loans in a previous post and part of my woes with that is that again, I convinced myself that I needed certain things. It wasn’t really until I got to grad school and even then until my second year of grad school that I started to get a glimpse of how important it is to budget and to spend wisely.
In my September Goals, I mentioned that I really want to give budgeting another shot. I’m not very good at it, but basically…this is what I try to do.
- I low ball my monthly income
- I add up all my monthly expenses that I know are always the same (rent, student loan payments, credit card payments – DON’T fall into this trap and remind me to write a post on this sometime!, cell phone bill) and then guess for my other bills that are changing (utilities, water, gas).
- I then figure out how much money I have left other. I think about a realistic amount of money that I need to have set aside for groceries. I think through the month and think about how much food and what kind of food I will be needing.
- Now here is where I am horrible, I then put the remaining money in a separate savings account which is also linked up to my checking account…which means that it is really, really easy to transfer money over…
We often hear that “you don’t need money to be happy” and to an extent, that is true. You don’t need money to be happy…beyond meeting your needs and being comfortable. Having financial instability is a major stressor in people’s lives. Budgeting, while annoying and, as my financial guru of knowledge points out, isn’t easy and takes some trial and error to figure out, can be very beneficial to your financial wellbeing as well as your overall wellbeing.
Do you budget? Why or why not? Any tips and tricks?