Monday, May 04, 2015
Budget Tip - Be Patient
May is off to a hot start. Today was Star Wars Day and tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. Are any of you trying to throw parties celebrating both at the same time?
Well Monday's are for Money (the last 26 minutes of it at least as I'm blogging late tonight). If you're just now starting to read my blog, I have been blogging quite a bit about budgeting. So much so that instead of typing "blogging" I wrote "budgeting" the first time. I'll point you in the direction of my first post on it and I'm sure that'll pique your interest to check out all the others.
I want to provide one tip tonight that I think will serve you a great deal as you begin your budgeting journey or continue down a path that's already established.
I've said it before in different ways, but I'm going to say it again and as directly as possible.
If budgeting is completely new to you, consider yourself a foreigner in a strange land that you plan on living in the rest of your life. You have some of the basics down and you know it's a place you want to be, like Italy, but much of what people are saying and doing is strange and not understood. You have to acclimate yourself to your new environment and get your bearings. You have to work at it and it takes a good bit of time, but you know it's worth it because growing in understanding and comfort will open up a whole new world of possibilities that weren't available when you started. You are willing to be patient because the payoff later is so much greater than just getting by.
And whether you're just starting or have been going at it for a while, you must start with the end in mind and work back. As odd as it might sound, picture what you want your life to be like financially when you're 65 or 70 and work backward from there. The starting place is the budget with the view of a healthy retirement fund in the horizon. The steps along the way are the months you review and plan your spending, keeping that long-term goal in mind. These steps also include mini-celebrations, such as paying off debt faster, paying for your first car with cash, having a full 3-6 months worth of expenses in an emergency fund, and the like. Don't forget these because these are the small wins to celebrate. This is key because it's a long road and you should accept the fact now that you're a turtle on it.
If you find yourself frustrated that you didn't budget the right way your first try, it's understandable, but keep going. If it doesn't all seem to be happening fast enough, consider what adjustments can be made, but keep going. On that last point, it's amazing to see all that you accomplish when you look back over a full year; don't be too concerned about what lies ahead. Just plug away bit by bit at it. And how do you do that?