28 January 2011

The B Word

Budget is not a nasty word, I promise.  Budget means something different to everyone.  And if you're married, budget better mean the same thing to the both of you.  Other than that, it's pretty simple.

Budget = diet.  Most people equate budget with spending less, and diet with eating less.  Negative thoughts usually come to mind.
Diet, however, just means 'food or drink regularly provided or consumed.'  So you can have a healthy diet or an unhealthy diet.
Budget is the same, 'an itemized allotment of funds, time, etc., for a given period.' It's estimating how you'll spend your money.  You can overspend or underspend.  That's just a matter of balancing your budget.
So if you're like most people and the idea of a budget is pretty much this black hole, and you feel that it's pointless because it won't really change anything, here's something (hopefully) different for you to try:

Start by guessing how much you actually spend in a week, 2 weeks, or month (whichever is easiest, given your pay periods).  If you have access to online banking, this makes it very easy.

Once you have a rough draft of that (and let me stress rough draft-- because it's not going to even be close to perfect!), add it up and see where you're at.

Does it look like you should have tons of money but you actually don't?  Then there's somewhere you're spending money that you forgot to write down.  Spend the next week or so figuring out what that is.  Then decide if you want to keep spending that or if you want to cut back and save money.

You may also see, as Josh and I saw at one point, that we simply weren't making enough money.

 If that's you, then pat yourself on the back for making ends meet so far!  Then figure out an honest way to make more money.

Good luck!

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