About this time of the year (end of January), most people are just coming off of binge spending for the holidays and going crazy over the sales after the holidays. By the middle of January they’re living paycheck to paycheck (sometimes barely making it to the next paycheck) and their checking accounts could use a gift from grandma.
Is this you?
Well I don’t do holidays, but there are times of the year when I am a little more stressed about how much money I have in my account than I am other times of the year. You know, things come up; car repairs, concerts, a cute pair of shoes, etc. These things aren’t usually planned for in your “budget”….
Wait…. Do you have a budget set up???
I hope you do and if you don’t you need one now! Not Monday, not next month, RIGHT NOW!
Having a budget is imperative to knowing where your money is going and it keeps you conscious of your spending habits, if you use it correctly. If you know that you have allocated $50 for entertainment per month, you will be picky about which type of entertainment you decide to enjoy that month. If you feel that you want to enjoy some entertainment that goes over your $50 entertainment budget, you may want to borrow some money from your clothes or take-out budget by spending less in these areas.
Having this proactive attitude about your money requires discipline and SELF-LOVE. You could be walking around broke all the time, asking your friends and family for “$20 til payday” with late fees and overdraft fees added to your already negative account because you forgot about those automated bills when you were on a swipe frenzy. It felt good to go shopping, but you didn’t budget for that kind of spending. As a result, a nice little chunk of your next paycheck goes straight to fees; more expenses not in your budget.
Do you like this feeling of defeat and desperation? Why keep depriving your future self of love by abusing your own money now? You only get a set amount each month so you have to spend within your means, taking care of the important expenses first.
Me and My Money
I had had my battle with overdraft fees for the longest time and realized that I was doing it to myself. It seemed like I wanted to pay an extra $35-$50 every month, while already broke and in college. I was not dignifying my abilities to be a slow and patient spender and a responsible adult. I didn’t love myself enough to stop wasting money on instant gratifications and focus on how I could make sure all my bills were covered.
The change started when I was getting money in cash from my side tutoring business. I wanted to track and record that money for later reference (but mainly just to marvel at the amount of money I was making on my own, lol). Once I decided to make a spreadsheet to record my tutoring income, I just threw my whole money cycle in there. Every source of income, bill and expense was recorded, even loans and money gifts. I was becoming quite obsessed with where all my money went and with exactly how much money I was making each month.
I created the budget sheet on Google Sheets with all the connecting formulas and downloaded the app onto my phone so that whenever I spent money, it would go straight onto my budget sheet. It was fun and fulfilling knowing that I was taking steps to having a better relationship with my money. I didn’t think too much about self-love then, but once I saw the results of me watching my money, I didn’t stress about it anymore.
I faithfully stuck to a budget for about 1.5 years. I didn’t spend much money on extra stuff, just the essentials. All my bills were paid on time and I had no fees. I wasn’t making a lot of money but managed to have a little bit left over at the end of each month. I also read up on personal finance to give me some guidance and motivation to keep going.
You and Your Money
Your spending habits is a reflection of who you are. There may be some things you know off hand that you like to buy on a regular basis (I love to buy Ferrero Rochers!). However, sometimes you just don’t know where you spend all of your money. If you feel like you don’t know where all your money goes but your have half of a new wardrobe every month, then you need to ask yourself if all these new clothes are necessary. How will you cut back on clothes shopping?
Let’s say you’re tight on money sooner in the month than you thought, but you forgot that you spent $100 on an new tire that unexpectedly went flat. You should ask yourself, how can I be ready for financial surprises like this next time?
Budgeting is about planning. And we all know that when we plan and prepare, our stress level for an event is 10 notches lower than it would be if we didn’t plan at all and that event came by surprise.
Budgeting is also about self-evaluation. When we get real with ourselves and honestly evaluate our reasons for spending with the goal to eradicate foolishness, we’ll stress less and prove to ourselves that well-being is more important than a new exercise outfit.
Gift For You!!!
I really want you to reap the benefits of having a budget. To make it easy, I am providing you with the same spreadsheet I use to record all of my expenses. Please modify and customize it to match your personal money cycle. Click the link at the bottom of this post for the download to Google Drive.
Budget Spreadsheet Tips***
- Click File then “Download as”—–> “Microsoft Excel (.xlsx)”. If you are logged into your Google account you can click the “Add to Drive” icon in the top bar.
- Hover over the cells with BLACK TRIANGLES in the corners since they explain what to do.
- Change “Budget” numbers in green to suite you.
- You must enter each expense as a negative number (ie. -13.47) and each income as positive (ie. 577.50). This supports the formulas installed.
- At the end of every month, copy the whole sheet of the current month, add a new tab and paste in the new tab. Delete all entries from the last month. I like to do it this way instead of making 12 tabs (1 tab for each month) all at the beginning of the year since I may change a formula or add a category or bill that I want to also use in the next month.
- Record everything!!! From your grandmother sliding you $7 to your transfer of $50 from your online savings account. That’s considered income. When you give the bum on the street $1, that is still an expense. Record it.
- Recheck your formulas and make sure everything’s adding up. I had to do this a few times when I saw my monthly end balances were off.
- Comment below if you have any questions.
***I’ll be adding to this list as I think of more tips.
I love sharing helpful TIPS and STRATEGIES I benefit from with you all. Here are some helpful resources:
- Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach (found in Miss Jackson’s library)
- The Live Richer Challenge: a SUPER helpful free email course hosted by Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche
- The One Week Budget by Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche (found in Miss Jackson’s library)
I want to hear from you!
- What do you need to cut back on in order to save money?
- Do you have a budget? How is it set up?
- What resources have your used to improve your personal finance?
- What are your questions about the 2017 Budget Sheet?