punching numbers on the calculator with money on the side.

Building a “User-Friendly” Personal Budget

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt.

Most people know a personal budget is good for their finances but they just can’t seem to make it work. There are many reasons as to why this is so.

Sometimes, when one is having trouble making ends meet, and even more trouble sticking to a budget, the apparent solution may be to tweak their approach towards budgeting. Budgeting is not a “one-size-fits-all” affair. Therefore, one must craft a plan that accounts for their income, expenditures, and still give room for saving for the things that are important.

When it comes to our budgeting habits, it is important to remain consistent; always maintaining focus on the goal, which is to attain financial stability and ultimately, financial freedom.

When your budget is not working, the common culprits could be some of the following vices:

  1. You Have The Wrong Attitude

Attitude can be one of two things; the fertilizer that helps you grow, or the weed that stifles the growth. A positive attitude is your budget’s “fertilizer.

A budget cannot work without the right attitude in place. A negative attitude is what stops many from following their budget or even making one in the first place.

When used correctly, a budget can be the key to financial freedom, ensuring one always remains in control of their finances, not the other way around.

2. You Recycle Your Budgets 

Our needs, wants, and thus expenses change. Money loses value with time due to inflation. You must, therefore, update your budget regularly. This way you shall be able to see what is eating at your financial resources.

When you re-use the same plan over and over, you create room for small leaks in your finances, which eventually swallow everything that is on board.

3. You’re Making It Harder Than It Needs To Be

The key to a successful budget is to keep it simple. It is not possible to overhaul a lifetime of spending habits in one shot. The ideal approach is to focus on one area before you can move on to another.

Biting more than you can chew will cause disappointment and you will lose faith in your budget. We already know the wrong attitude will kill your budget.

[Read More: Budgeting Strategies That Work]

4. You Have No Clear Priorities

The fastest remedy for a lack of motivation is to set a goal. Budgeting merely for the sake of budgeting is a chore. But when you have your eye on something you want, managing your spending becomes a pleasure. It’s easier to cut back when there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Think of it this way, a budget helps you manage small expenses today so you can increase your means tomorrow. So, ask yourself what you hope to gain from your budgeting experience.

5. You Have Set Unrealistic Targets

Having clear priorities will not help if those priorities are not realistic. To set targets that are realistic for you, track your income and spending for a period of time. That way, you’ll see how much money you have and where it’s going and then make the necessary fixes.

Conclusion

Budgeting is the foundation of finance, not just personal finance. Governments and successful corporations use budgets for financial discipline. You should too.

As a starting point, you make use of general rules of thumb, like saving 10% of your income and limiting your rental expenses to not more than 30% of your take-home income.

At the end of it all, keep in mind that your budget must be a personal affair and also that your goals are your own, and it is through your own initiative and planning that your finances will turn out the way you intend them to.

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