The big deal about budgeting
If I told you that you could get a pay rise without earning more income, would you take it? Of course you would!
Many people who budget for the first time feel like they got a rise. That's because they're discovering money they didn't realise they had. They're usually stunned by how much they're actually spending at restaurants, on movies, or on gym memberships they only use once a month. For a lot of people, a budget is the wake-up call they need to fix their money situation.
So how does it work?
Despite what you might have heard, budgeting is really simple, and it's even easier when you use a good budgeting tool. Simply list your income at the top, then list all your monthly expenses.
Every dollar should have a name. In other words, every dollar should be categorised to either give, save or spend. When you subtract your expenses from your income, you should have zero. That's a zero-based budget.
So what's the big deal about a budget?
A budget is just a plan. And if you want to win with money, you have to plan. You have to sit down before the month begins and make your budget for that upcoming month. As John Maxwell says, “A budget tells your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
Sometimes, the budget gets a bad reputation because people think it means you have to be cheap or that you can't have a life. But that's not the case.
You can have a life while you're on a budget — you just have to plan for it. That way, you won't spend $200 at Target before realising you overdrafted your bank account.
Now, if you're still in debt, I want you to be extremely serious about the budget. Cut back on your lifestyle, get intense about paying off your debts, and remember this is only temporary.
Once you're out of debt, you can pull back on the intensity a little bit, but I still want you to continue budgeting, planning, and making sure you're doing everything you can to build a financial foundation for your future.
So if you're struggling with money, now's the time to start budgeting. When you manage your money correctly, you'll be shocked at how much money you actually have — instead of letting it slip through the cracks every month.
To get you started, I highly recommend EveryDollar — a brand-new app and online-based budgeting tool that will help you create a zero-based budget that works for you. Check it out at EveryDollar.com.
Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and presenter, helping Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. Her new book Smart Money Smart Kids, co-authored with her dad Dave Ramsey, released April 2014 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list. You can follow Rachel on Twitter at @RachelCruze and online at http://www.rachelcruze.com or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.