Money: The yes you can attitude
By: James Foley
Money: The yes you can attitude
The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Spend like there’s no tomorrow.
Save money and money will save you.
Whichever of these mantras you follow it has to be accepted that the pursuit and usage of money is one of our greatest preoccupations in life.
Let’s be honest, it can’t be helped.
I am going to make a presumption here that you are like me on this issue. You know managing money is important and you want to be better at it.
Failing to budget is a budget to fail
We all feel overwhelmed with the idea of a budget. It seems impossible to believe that we can tame the beast that is spending. You may even find it hard to want to budget. Living a life of excess has its attractions.
And its true you can’t just delve straight in and expect a budget to work.
It may also be the case that pride can be a block for budgeting, Some may feel that budgeting is only for people with financial problems. So needing to keep a budget can be seen as a slur on your character.
This is wrong because all people benefit from budgeting.
Some people may have an excessive belief in retail therapy. Yes it is true rewarding yourself with something nice can help raise the mood. However people can be addicted to shopping just as much as to any other activity.
Steps to starting a budget
Before you start keep a record of your spending for a month or so and base your budget on that.
Don’t get too caught up in how to do it. It doesn’t matter if you do it on paper, excel or a fancy app. Don’t let your concern about doing something right prevent you from doing it at all.
Start your budget simple. All any budget aims to do is simply balance your income with your expenditure. If this does not happen and you find you are eating into savings then practice self accountability to put it right in the coming months.
There are numerous helps on line re budgeting. Youtube has a lot of examples of how to do budgets. There are online packages, training courses i.e. https://www.capmoney.org/, books etc. I have benefited from the baby steps plan of Dave Ramsey, https://www.ramseysolutions.com/ even though I haven’t implemented all of it. You don’t have to follow all of a particular plan to achieve what you need. It is your budget and you should not feel compelled to follow any body else’s.
Remember MABS, the Money And Budgeting Service, https://www.mabs.ie/ are there to give you free financial advice. You may decide to avail of paid advice from an accountant.
It is always good to get feedback on your financial plans. Doing so will increase the likelihood the plans will succeed. Such plans will be more realistic and you will be more committed to them. It is also good to be accountable to someone re the implementation of your budget.
Emotional principles of budgeting
It may seem a bit odd to imply that budgeting has an emotional basis. It does, because anything that is important to us we are emotionally invested in.
So what should be our attitude to make a success of budgeting?
- Be committed to getting your spending under control
- Prioritise those aspects of your life that most deserve financial support
- Practice accountability to yourself, your spouse/partner or professional financial advisor in managing deficits
- Agree with your spouse/partner on how to budget
- Similarly agree on how to spend
- Decide what your attitude should be on savings
- If you fail, learn from it. Don’t give up
- Practice makes perfect
- Budgeting doesn’t have to mean living on beans on toast, but it may mean less Ben and Jerry’s for dessert.
- Accept no amount of budgeting will increase your income
- How you do a budget should not be so complicated as to put you off doing it
- Remember enough really is enough, whether that is spending or saving
Benefits of budgeting
If you budget well and get used to it as an approach to living it can motivate you to make positive changes.
You may realise you need to earn more. This may lead to taking on a part time job or improving your qualifications.
It could be the motivator to practice better responsibility in your life. This is especially true if your income is a provision for children and a stay at home spouse/partner.
Ultimately effective budgeting should decrease stress not increase it. Annual financial timebombs like Christmas and holidays should be more manageable. A good budget will also help put perspective on your life priorities. You will put your money into what matters most for you and your family if you have one.
The process for a couple agreeing a budget together can prevent problems from materialising later. Many marriages/relationships have fallen due to financial mismanagement.
Budgeting can go badly. If you are married/in a committed relationship, budgeting could highlight strains that were already there. It may be a good idea to seek counselling support in such a situation.
If you are single and doing a budget goes badly don’t give up. Yes I’ve said that before, do I need to say it again?
Finally maintain perspective. Do not become obsessive with your budget. Yes managing money is really important, but so is going for a walk in the park with the people you love.