Rigid, inflexible and controlling defines the primitive budget. So from this moment forward, let’s render it obsolete. Conscious, smart, and resourceful defines the contemporary spending plan and it is here to stay.
The spending plan’s rules of engagement are far less inflexible compared to the antiquated budget. Having a spending plan is really about being proactive versus reactive.
The steadiness that comes with a cash-conscious plan is the lifeblood to your lifestyle and is quite empowering. There will be far less random and impulsive expenditures, therefore omitting the need to rob Peter to pay Paul. By the way, who is Peter and why does he always get the short end of the stick?
With this design, it allows you to focus on the things that are most important. Prudence, discipline and priorities are words to live by when it comes to developing your personal spending plan.
I realize that I am sauntering a fine line, and most of these words may be ill-digested because the notion of this article is merely a glorified budget read. And to many, budget is synonymous for “blah, blah, blah,” but hear me out and open your context to the point of view I am offering.
A spending plan is far more sexy than its homely cousin the budget. We are all guilty of spending money on things we don’t need but set your own guidelines and priorities during the spending plan creation, and follow that with some serious fact finding. This will include knowing all take-home income (not what you make). Make sure you include any 1099 sources, dividends, tips and “found money” strategies.
An example: I am also a mystery shopper, so if I consistently complete six-to-eight shops per month, I can count on additional monthly inflows.
Now let’s shift to the outflow side. If you have not made paying yourself and your family first a habit — do it! Put your own hand in your pockets before all other demands arise.
That’s right, no matter your financial obligations, you and your family must be the top priority in your plan. The key is to itemize expenditures by fixed, discretionary, and limited frequency (insurance premiums, property taxes, etc.).
For those limited-frequency payments, open an interest-bearing savings account, preferably from an online bank as they tend to offer the best interest rates with minimal balance requirements. Convert the payment to a monthly amount, and add that amount to your new account.
Once the quarterly or semi-annual payment is due, you’ve earned a bit of interest on your money. Yippee, more cash to the inflow side. The more comprehensive and accurate your fact finding, the more opportunity there is to add positives to your overall spending plan.
Key takeaways: Pay yourself first, keep an accurate and frequent log of expenditures, shop around/plan your spending, and incorporate “found money” strategies to your inflows. Adopting good habits and a proactive approach to inflows and outflows will afford you an improved financial lifestyle.
Freelance writer, financial consultant, entrepreneur and mom, Tamela Saulsberry brings a combined 16 years of experience in business, finance, sales and coaching. She is delighted to receive your questions and feedback. She can be contacted at [email protected] or 612-269-2341