I know from years of teaching a class on budgeting, most people hate the word BUDGET. To most people, the word budget might as well be a four letter word. In most of my classes, it was a difficult word for people to even say!
For a lot of people, the word budget brings up bad feelings of depriving ourselves of what we really want and automatically feels negative. In my classes and my budget counseling experience, I heard people tell me so many times “your going to tell me I can’t have this….or I can’t have that ….”. That is not the purpose of a budget! A budget helps you to manage your money, not make you feel like you are depriving yourself. I think this is one of the many reasons why many people don’t create a budget or don’t stick to a budget.
I’ve always told people that a budget is personal. I wasn’t there to make any decision for them about their budget or their money. All I could do is give them the tools to make their decisions. And I really meant that. No budget is successful if someone else sets it up for you and forces you to stick to it. You have to make your own decisions about what is most important to you and what you can live without so you can have what you want.
So instead of “budgeting” our money, I got to thinking, why don’t we just pre-plan what we do with it? It’s a different want to think about money and may help you get over that hurdle of the word “budget”.
Simple Ways to Pre-Plan Your Spending
How can you get to where you want to be with your money without making it feel like a chore? Pre-plan what you are going to do with your money each month!
- Set Financial Goals – What do you want your money to do for you? What are your financial goals? What will your life be like after you reach those goals? Goals can keep us motivated and help us see the big picture. Have you thought about your financial goals lately?
- Pre-Plan Your Spending – Once you have your goals, pre-plan where you are going to spend your money each month. Is your spending in line with your goals? If not, start adjusting your spending accordingly so it aligns with your goals. Only spend money you have and if you need to use cash to help you from overspending.
- Be Strategic with Your Money – Create a strategy around your spending plan. This is where the decisions come in. Instead of cutting everything out, try cutting back in areas that aren’t important to you so you can put that money towards the things you really want.
- For example, what are 5 things you can live without each time you go to the grocery store? Cutting back in small amounts in several areas will add up over time.
- Be Systematic with Your Money – A system is important because it is something you do once and forget about it. Maybe your system is having money automatically taken out of your paycheck each month and put in your savings account so can start building your emergency fund. Or maybe you have a certain day of the week or month that you organize your and pay your bills. Whatever your system is, set it up and put it in place so you can reach your financial goals.
- No Goals Means All You Ever Get is Leftovers – Doesn’t that make sense? If you set financial goals, pre-plan where your money will be spent, create a strategy to get yourself there and then implement a system so you can get your finances on track. Otherwise, you can be left scrambling around each month trying to make ends meet!