Do you have a budget? This is a question every adult should be asked. Or perhaps your question is, why do I need a budget? It took over twelve years for my husband and me to realize that we were aside from using the word “budget,” what we were, in fact, doing the furthermost thing from it. It was, basically, a spreadsheet summarizing where in fact our money went after the fact. We could not figure out how we could plan so hard on a piece of paper and be so broke at the end of the month. We didn’t feel that we were living particularly extravagantly, yet as a dual income family, we were always worried about money.
The question, why do I need a budget is finally answered.
It wasn’t until Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University that I realized just how far off the mark we were. There was such a paradigm shift afterward. It was a life-changing experience. I have no affiliation of any sort with this program and truth be told this isn’t the purpose of the post. It just happens to be the beginning of our journey that I am sharing with you about the importance of budgeting.
If you have not taken the course, I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you are serious about changing how you handle your money, this course changed our life. It was in this course that I realized how important (and quite frankly, freeing) it is to have an actual budget. Suddenly, it was no longer a burden to take the necessary steps to “stick to the budget.” After all, working so hard all the time and always fearing the next unknown big expense, can be so draining!
There was a change in mindset.
After completing the course, we understood that we were not alone. The mistakes and excuses we had made were very common. We were committed to holding ourselves to a budget in the true sense of the word. We thought we were going well because we have a budget. The lie we were telling ourselves had been blown out of the water. There was nothing else left to do and no more excuses to make… It was time to make a change.
Our mistakes were finally realized and it all became so clear.
For all those years, we placed our income and our bills on a spreadsheet. Which, to be fair, is a nice start to making a budget. Unfortunately, we did not plan for anything other than what we needed for our bills to paid. As I’m sure you know, life will throw a lot of curveballs and you can be in trouble if you don’t prepare. We were setting ourselves up to fail from the very beginning. We would get paid, pay the appropriate bills, and then “try” to be reasonable in our spending… without any actual plan.
When we started budgeting in the true sense of the word we were shocked how quickly things added up. This is especially true when there are two of you independently spending the same money. By having to assign an amount to each and every, even remotely significant category that we spent money on, we were forced to shine a light on where our money was actually going.
The little things that slipped through the budget were the very things that were holding up back!
In doing that, we realized for the first time just how quickly it all added up. There is no question anymore for either one of us as to where our money was going. We did operate with cash for a little while and I am not sure if it is what made the difference. There is no disputing that we are now very conscious of every penny we spend. I still like to spend money, but I feel far more at peace when I choose to spend money on something because it all flows through a much finer filter to determine if it is worth the cost.
Budgeting is much more than just tracking what you do with your money. It is a monthly plan to tell your money where it is going, and when you do that, you can feel free to spend without guilt or concern. After all, it was always a part of the plan!
The questions “why do I need a budget” will never have to asked again!
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Are you ready to start on your new budget?!? Check out this post on how to build a budget from scratch. It even has printable worksheets to help you start off right!
If you already have a budget but are struggling to rein in spending check out this post about giving yourself a grown-up allowance. This is a true game-changer for your budget!