How did she do it?
By faithfully sticking to a budget.
I know many people hate budgeting and it is four letter word in some households. However, budgeting has several benefits and it isn’t that hard to do.
Once you get the hang of it, the benefits of budgeting outweigh the inconveniences.
For help making a budget check out:
Plus once you get the hang of it, budgeting is fun and easy to do from month to month.
What is a budget?
A budget is simply a written plan for your money.
It is your goals for your money. When you write your goals down, you are 1.5 times more likely to achieve them. This is why you should write your budget down.
What is a zero-based budget:
A zero-based budget is assigning every dollar a job. That means you should technically never have any “unassigned” money in your possession. You should have your funds allocated down to “0.” It doesn’t mean you don’t have any money left, it just means you budget every dollar until you arrive at 0 dollars left to budget. Don’t worry, you can budget in fun things like going on vacation or buying clothes. You just need to plan for those activities in your budget.
Adhering to the zero-based budget will give you those most benefit from budgeting. You make sure that every single dollar is working for you — with a super clear assignment — and not just disappearing down a dark hole. When you put your money toward your goals, then you will start to achieve your dreams.
10 Benefits of Budgeting:
These benefits will have a long-term impact on your finances and will help you be at peace with your money.
1. Have control over your money
When you start doing a budget and actually stick to it, it gives you back control. You are then the one controlling your money and telling it where to go. If you have been looking at your pay stubs and bank account and wondering where all your money goes, a budget is for you!
You will quit wondering where all your money went. This gives you tremendous power and control over your money. You get to decide where it will go and how it will be spent.
2. Get to have fun without guilt
When you have a budget, you get to budget in fun. This allows you to have fun, go out with friends, go to concerts, or whatever you want, without feeling guilty!
You get to enjoy your money without worrying about how you will pay for it later. It is paid in cash at the time you do it — no next day early morning regret. No wondering how you will pay the credit card bill at the end of the month.
3. Plan for the future
A budget will allow you to plan for your future. You will get to plan your long-term and short-term goals and make the path to them.
You can stop “wishing” to:
- be debt- free
- pay all the bills on time
- stop the credit card bills from mounting up
You also get to live your dreams — whether that is to retire someday, go to Disney World, have another kid, stay at home with your kids or whatever you want.
You get to plan for your future and your family’s future.
4. Less money stress
When you make a budget and stick to it, you will be less stressed about money. This will help your marriage and relationships, too.
When you know how much money you have and where it is going, it is less stressful. When you are aimlessly spending and going further and further into debt, it is very stressful.
Budgeting allows you to take control of your money instead of it controlling you. This will lower your stress levels.
5. Give yourself a raise
Most people say that after they do their budget, they feel like they got a raise. When you look at your actual expenses and income, you probably have more money left every month than you realize.
The problem is what you do with what is left. This is where people lose track and spend aimlessly. This can lead to racking up more debt.
When you track your spending and see where it is going, you get to keep more of it.
6. Actually Save Money
When you do your budget and track your spending, you will naturally find ways to save. You will be able to see how much you have left and will be able to save the extra.
You get to save for emergencies, special projects, Christmas, vacation, vehicle and house maintenance, property taxes and anything else that doesn’t come up every month.
With a budget, you can put your money toward your goals instead of it disappearing without a trace.
7. Become Debt-Free
Once you start a budget and take control of your money, you are able to pay off your debt.
Do you wish you were debt free? Well, you can be and it all starts with a budget!
We were able to pay off $45,000 in 17 months once we did a zero-based budget. It is amazing how much money you can find when you assign every dollar to something.
8. Quit living paycheck to paycheck
Once you do your budget and start to save money, you get to quit living paycheck to paycheck.
When more of your check carries over into the next paycheck, you are no longer one check away from disaster.
Once you have some money built up in savings or get a month ahead on paying your bills, you are not technically living paycheck to paycheck.
Sometimes I forget it’s payday. I don’t say that to brag, but when you have control of your money, it’s less stressful.
So, I’m not anxiously awaiting payday for anything. I know what bills get paid when and have it set up on either auto-draft or bill pay. When I actually have to make an effort to pay a bill, that’s when I forget.
9. Cut expenses
One benefit of budgeting is knowing what you are spending money on and where you should cut back. When you write it all out, you will see if you should cut back on eating out, fast food, cable, or your cell phone bill.
If you look back at your last 3 months of spending, you will probably be shocked. If you are, then hopefully that will motivate you to cut back on spending and save money.
I know when I did a zero-based budget and looked through expenses, I was shocked at how much we were spending on food.
I found some ways to cut back on grocery spending and we quit eating out so much.
I’m sure there are areas you can cut back as well. I have even put together 200 easy ways to save money to help you save even more!
10. Find and make extra money
Just like it feels like a raise when you do a budget, you will start finding money. When you are aware of your spending and expenses, you will be able to keep more of your money.
When you bury your head in the sand and ignore your situation, you won’t know what to spend, save, or cut back on.
You will also be more motivated to make extra money. There are lots of extra ways to make some extra money even from home
What are the advantages of budgeting?
The advantages of budgeting definitely outweigh the initial work you’ll put into it. Just remember that in order to achieve your financial goals, you should start with a budget.
Do you “wish” you were debt-free?
Do you “wish” you could stay-at-home with your kids?
Stop wishing you could do these things and start taking the steps to get there!
It all starts with a budget. A budget is simply a plan for your money. If you want these things, make a plan to get there.
A budget is all about your priorities. Your money goes towards whatever is a priority to you. If whatever you are wishing for is a priority then you will make it happen.
If eating out and buying unnecessary things are priorities for you, then that is where your money will go.
If you want to retire someday, then make it a priority. It won’t just magically happen. You have to make a plan with your money and set your goals as a priority. It may mean giving up some luxuries and saying no to things that are not a priority.
Decide what is important to you and do it.
More resources from Ashley:
- 200 easy ways to save money
- The Ultimate Budget Workbook
- You can follow her on Facebook or Pinterest or join her free budgeting group for extra support.
Want more help with budgeting? Here are some related budgeting resources:
- How to create and manage a budget in Google Apps (free video tutorial)
- How to Budget and Save Aggressively on a Small Income
- 5 Things to Do on Payday Friday
- Financial Fix Package: Budget Forms and eBooks
Also, check out this free guide, 21 Days to a Better Budget:
Free eBook on Budgeting
This eBook contains valuable budgeting information from 11 personal finance bloggers on creating an effective budget for getting out of debt, amassing wealth and attaining financial freedom.