Conquering the Household Budget

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What’s preventing you from getting control of your household budget 0r you’re business budget?  Maybe you’re struggling with setting goals.  Or maybe you’re just not sure where to start.
household budgetI don’t know how to make a budget.
Doing a budget is boring.
It’s just not fun.
I don’t have time for this.
I don’t know where to start.
This is too complicated.
This takes too much time.

Stop the Household Budget Excuses.

If you have these kinds of thoughts when it comes to creating and maintaining a personal or business budget and you’re overall financial plan then you’re at the right place.  It’s my goal to coach you through the process of creating the future that you want for you and your family. It’s possible to predict your future by creating it! Creating your future starts with goal setting, creating a plan and sticking to it. You need to control your money.  Don’t let your money control you.

So, are you ready to learn how to budget your money?

What are My Qualifications?

  • Am I rich and have a secret I can share with you that will make you rich? – No
  • Do I have years of professional experience in Finance? – No
  • College degree in Finance? – No
  • Degree in Economics? – No
  • Do I have a family? – Yes
  • Do I care about them and their future? – Yes
  • Have I taken on debt that I regretted? – Yes
  • Have I paid off my debt and stopped using credit cards? – Yes
  • Have I overcome dependence on debt and live on less than I earn? – Yes
  • Do I want you to experience the same satisfaction and joy my family and I have experienced by taking control of our personal finances? – Yes!

 

am I qualified to teach you how to budget your moneyI’ll let you decide if I am qualified or not. I’ll start by telling you a little about myself. I am happily married and have been for 17 years. I am the father of 4 awesome kids (3 sons, 1 daughter). My wife (Amy) and I began to get control of our finances about 7 years ago as a result of what we learned from Dave Ramsey. His Biblical teachings on personal finance and debt free living were the tipping point that enabled us to get traction on drastically reducing debt, saving money and creating the future we wanted for our family. As of this writing we are debt free, except for the house. We have approximately 7 months worth of living expenses in our savings account. We have paid cash for an automobile from money we saved. We have taken a vacation to Disney World and paid for it in cash. We are investing in a 401k and saving for our kids’ college. Our oldest son has had braces and the other 3 are in the process of wearing braces, all paid for with cash. I am not saying all of this to brag, but to help you see what is possible with good, sound, consistent personal budget management.

It’s A Lot of Hard Work

Financially, we are not where we want to be yet, but we have come a long way! Has this been easy? No, it’s been a lot of hard work. Has it been worth it? Yes! Can you do this for your family? Definitely, without a doubt! I’d love to be able to help you to accomplish what our family has accomplished? Is our life perfect? No, we have the same day to day struggles just like any other family. However, God has truly blessed my family and I’d love to be a part of the blessing that God has for you and your family too. I’d love to share what I have learned regarding money management – what works, what doesn’t work.

What’s Preventing You From Achieving What My Family Has Experienced?

household budget obstacleThroughout the years, one of the common threads I’ve seen that prevents families from successfully managing their personal finances is at the very beginning of the process – the budget. This can be one of the most intimidating, frustrating experiences we all face when tackling money management. I remember when my wife and I first started this journey she would be in tears by the end of a budget discussion. Learning how to make a budget is hard, overwhelming. However, we stuck to it and figured it out. I’ll try to lift the veil on this, what seems like, insurmountable obstacle. We first need to understand what a budget is and what a budget is not.

What Is A Budget?

I think a lot of people hear the word “budget” and they cringe. It invokes an emotion of dread and anxiety. That’s because it is viewed as a restriction on spending and not doing anything fun anymore. Let’s set the record straight!

Household Budget = making decisions on where your money will be spent, before you spend it.

That’s it.  No more.  No less.

I think we make this more complicated than it needs to be. I know I did when I was first learning the process. A natural consequence of making proactive decisions on where your money will be spent is you don’t spend more than you have. Eventually, you will even be able to get ahead and save some money. If you don’t decide proactively, a lot of times you get to the end of the month and don’t really know where your money went. Even worse, you run out of money before the end of the month. Not a good place to be. Be proactive. Tell your money where to go! Don’t let your money go places where you haven’t told it to go.

Set Goals Early to Stay Motivated

set goals to stay motivatedAs I’ve already said, this is not easy and it’s a lot of hard work. Because of this, it’s important to set goals on things you want to achieve financially. You need to have a clear understanding within yourself of why you are doing this. I promise you, you will get tired and frustrated with the whole process and you will need that little nugget to keep you motivated early on. Once you start achieving those small successes and build up to the larger achievements it gets easier to stay motivated. After all of these years, I still need a little mental reset and motivational reminder occasionally.

Write your goals down. You can have one main goal or a few goals you are working toward. They might look something like:

  • Don’t spend more than I make this month.
  • Pay off my student loan.
  • Save $500.
  • Get out of debt.
  • Save for a family vacation.
  • Pay off my credit card.
  • Spend less eating out.

I think it’s good to start with small, short term goals so you can see positive results quickly and then start working toward bigger goals. Stay focused on what you are working to achieve.

Take Action: Write down the goals you want to achieve by taking control of your personal finances. :o Stick it on your bathroom mirror.

Basic Steps in the Budgeting Process

The whole process of physically sitting down and putting together a monthly cash flow plan can be summarized into three major buckets:

  • Create
  • Monitor
  • Adjust

household budget processIt’s a continuous, repeating cycle. Don’t feel like once you create your first spending plan that it can’t be changed. It’s what we call in the business world a living document. It’s intended to be adjusted on a regular basis. Once your plan is created, be sure to track your spending in your checkbook or whatever tool you choose to use.

Now comes the hard part – sticking to the plan.

It’s important to make those tough decisions to stay within your budget. Don’t give in to the urge to impulse buy. Stick to the plan! It will pay off. Sometimes there are unavoidable circumstances that force you into unplanned spending. That’s ok. This is when you need to revisit your spending plan and make adjustments. Rinse and repeat. Create, monitor and adjust.

Here’s to Your Family’s Future!

If you would like some coaching on creating and managing your household budget explore my site and be sure to post comments with questions you have. If you like what you see be sure to sign up for my newsletter. I’ll send you tips periodically and email notifications when I publish a new article.  I’ll come along side you and your family to help create the future you want.

  • Want to improve your financial future? Get your budget starter kit now.

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photo credits:  Images_of_Money, lululemon athleticajeco , Zahlm and Sean MacEntee via flickr.com