Budgeting has changed my life in a way that I could've never imagined. If I knew then what I know now, I would've stuck with it when I tried the first 20 million times. I've been trying to get this thing right for over the past 9 years; I could've saved myself so much heartache and pain, but I guess that's the beauty of life. You have to go through those failures and experiences so that when you come out on the other side, you'll be that much more successful. I truly believe that budgeting is the single most important tool in mapping out the life of our dreams. A budget allows us to control our finances and tell our money where to go rather than wonder where it went. It's sort of like a vision board: You paste all of these fancy images up on a board of goals you want to accomplish, things you want to buy, and little sayings that represent you. Budgeting does that for your finances. It's basically just a roadmap of how you are going to reach your financial goals.
Through this process, I've surprised myself by how focused I can be on a goal when put my mind to it. Here are 4 of the sneaky ways working a budget helps you to become a better person than you ever thought possible:
1. Budgeting forces you to be honest with yourself. You have to look in the mirror and ask yourself some tough questions. How are my spending habits? Why do I spend the way that I do? Am I trying to fill any voids? Take some time to review your checking account and tally up how much you've spent over the past month and put it all into categories. You just may shock yourself. See which areas you can cut back.
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2. Budgeting sets your eyes on the prize. When creating your vision board, you are setting concrete, long term financial goals. Use these goals as fuel for you to create your budget and stick with it. By creating a budget for your expenses, it allows you to keep you focused on your endgame. You can finally start on the path towards the life of your dreams.
3. Budgeting gives you a BIG dose of reality. Most of the time people fail at budgeting because they don't make it work for their lifestyle. If you start off by making these huge, unrealistic estimates then it's not going to work. You are definitely going to have to tweak your budget a few times before you figure out what works for you. For example, if you love to go out to eat, give yourself a small eating out "allowance" so that you can continue to enjoy doing what you love. Just remember, baby steps!
4. Budgeting made me rely on my tribe. It's imperative that you have a support in place when you're trying to make any type of change in your life. When we have someone checking us, such as a significant other, family member, or friend, we are more likely to stay on track. And alternatively, if we are around those who are reckless with their money, we are more likely to behave in that way as well. You're only as good as the company you keep, so surround yourself with like-minded folks!
This isn't a death sentence and it's not rocket science. You just have to be willing to give it a real try and have the desire to want change in your financial life. It's time to make that vision a reality!