I wanted to take a moment and talk about where being successful with money begins. It’s not with some grand roadmap to $1 million.
No, it starts with a written monthly family budget.
That’s right, a budget. It’s not glamorous. It’s not sexy. It’s not complicated. It is, however, extremely effective.
Just as you wouldn’t think of building a home, or a shack for that matter, without a written plan, you shouldn’t think of building wealth without a written budget.
Advantages of a Monthly Budget
There are a number of advantages to creating a monthly budget:
- It makes you actually figure out what you take in and what you spend.
Most people don’t know (1) what they bring in on a monthly basis, and (2) what and where they spend their income. A monthly budget forces you to do your homework and figure this stuff out once and for all.
- It makes you plan your month in advance.
Most people just let their month happen to them. A monthly budget forces you to examine the month ahead and plan your spending depending on what will happen. This allows you to adjust future behavior if that behavior would cause you to run short of funds (i.e., go in to debt).
- It gets you on the same page as a family.
One of the major causes of spending too much is that families are not on the same page when it comes to money. A monthly family budget makes you sit down and discuss money and spending. (Of course, at this point you’re budgeting is with your kids, and not really with your spouse, but the principle is the same.) This will probably be contentious the first few times if you haven’t been on the same page with money. But, I promise, it gets better. We as a family went through tough times at first laying out our spending. Now, though, we work together pretty seemlessly.
Do monthly written budgets work?
They do if our experience is any indication. When we started doing ours, we cut our spending by 25%-33%. Just knowing how much we were wasting on random stuff each month helped reign things in. Honestly, it felt like we got a big raise because we started putting our money toward the things that mattered.
What budgeting system should I use?
We as a family use www.everydollar.com to prepare our monthly budget. It’s incredibly user-friendly. And, it’s free.
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