[This post is the fourth in my Back to School Series]
What a scary word! Whenever I hear the word ‘budget’ I immediately feel sort of overwhelmed. This is because I hate thinking about money. I can’t stand it! I’ve never liked money (not that I’ve ever had any debt or problems with it) and I probably never will enjoy it! It just makes me uncomfortable. Sure, I enjoy making it, and spending it, but my immediate reaction when I’m forced to actually think about it is a strange sense of discomfort. Don’t ask me why this happens to me, but I’m sure others can relate – maybe you feel tense when it comes to money? I think most people do, for any number of reasons.
One of the things that does help with my (unnecessary) anxiety is creating a solid budget. Why?
Reasons I Love Budgets
- I always feel like money is slipping through my fingers towards unknown sources, which is stressful! By using a budget and by tracking everything I buy, I’m able to get everything out into the open. I’m not constantly trying to remember what I’ve been buying lately, it’s suddenly dead simple to see that I’m bleeding money because of going out to eat. Suddenly, my finances aren’t so mysterious, they’re manageable.
- By looking clearly at my personal finances, I’m able to start controlling them. I can set myself limits, which end up saving me money!
- I end up having more money for the things I’d really enjoy having in my life, by cutting out the unnecessary expenses I always forget about. I don’t end up throwing away money on things I don’t love, by staring my finances straight in the face.
- I can start freeing up money for things I love: setting aside some money each month for travel, future plans, shopping trips.. :)
- I’ll be able to avoid going into any serious debt by way of tracking my purchases, and not just blindly swiping credit cards. Key word there: blindly. Budgets don’t let me hide from the truth!
- Budgets take the scary out!
Alright, I hope I sold you on budgets (no pun intended!) because I really feel they’re like the coolest thing going. Take control of your life! (Have I mentioned lately that I’m a huge nerd? K, good.)
But now you’re all: “But I don’t know how to make a budget or use Excel!”, “What if I get all crazy when I go to the mall and I throw my budget out the window??”, “I have no idea how to live frugally!”..etc.
Luckily for you, I have compiled a lovely list of resources for your perfect budget, how to actually stick to it, and maybe even love it!
The budget I have recently adopted is Jenny’s simple 4 Step Budget from Life After College. It’s so simple to use, especially if you have a Google account. If you don’t, you could easily reproduce her idea with an Excel or Word document, or even a very well organized paper system. If you’re looking for a simple, easy to use system, I recommend this one.
If you’re looking for more variety, or perhaps a more complex budget, check out this list of budget templates from Budgets are $exy. Actually, if you have the chance check out his whole website. It’s a fantastic resource for people with big long-term financial goals (he’s trying to become a millionaire!).
If neither of the above works for you, I suggest looking through the other, numerous budget template options listed in Google Docs or checking out the ones in your word processing/spreadsheet program already on your computer.
Frugal Living Links
Gala’s Guide to Sane Spending is a down-to-earth view of some budgeting lessons we all tend to forget every once in a while..
Zen Habits has a Cheapskate Guide: 50 Tips for Frugal Living, as well as the Golden Money List, which is jam packed full of articles on how to get more out of your financial life!
From College Fashion: 3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Money In College; the 2nd way is one technique I have to do more of!
48 Things Frugality Has Taught Me from The Simple Dollar reminds me of the little things in life, and how they don’t always require money.
A list of amazing resources from Money Ning on frugal living offers advice for every occasion.
A couple practical tips from Foximus, simple and quick to incorporate into your routine.
More to love..
With a little planning and dedication, I believe that you’ll find that “you’re richer than you think!”. Budgeting can be fast & straightforward, yet save you lots of money! To spend on things you really love! Who’s with me?
What are your strategies for keeping your finances in line? How do you save money? Let me know, I’m always learning!