Budgeting is difficult, so many people simply decide not to. But the financial consequences of not following a budget that reflects your earnings can be dastardly and leave you in the financial red for decades to come.
If you’ve been putting off creating a budget and are beginning to feel the consequence in your pocketbook, here are a few tips to help you begin pulling yourself out of your financial rut.
Find Out Where You’re Spending Your Money
If you aren’t already keeping a running log of your spending, you should begin doing so now. If writing down everything you spend seems too much of a chore, online banking and plenty of online budgeting software are only a few clicks away. One thing is certain: You’ll never learn where to cut spending unless you find out what you’re spending your money on.
Eliminate Needless Spending
Four-dollar cups of joe each morning and pricey fast food combos at lunch add up pretty quickly. Meanwhile, you probably have a perfectly good bag of coffee and fridge full of groceries spiraling toward expiration at home. Pack your lunch, brew your own coffee and pick cheap or free hobbies to occupy yourself. Indulgence is nice every now and then, but it’s making you broke.
Once you’ve taken care of the money you don’t have to be spending, take a look at the money that must be spent. Determine which bills must be paid first (rent, mortgage, car payment, insurance, power, water) and get them paid. Next, look at the bills you may be able to ask for an extension on and do so if you need to catch up on more important payments. Some collectors may allow you to break bills into smaller installments if need be. Just explain your situation, let them know you are doing your best to correct it and be honest.
Here are some resources to help you get started on your new budget: