The Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Mo’ money, Mo’ problems,” and for most of us, we wouldn’t mind having more money, no matter what problems come with it! Some of us can’t even grasp this concept, because in our minds, we think the opposite - that money can solve anything! We need to realize that money has never been and never will be the solution.
Caution to those who want more money and are not mentally ready for the responsibility that comes with it! This is the exact reason why you see millionaires go bankrupt and lottery winners losing it all within years! The more money you have, the greater the probability of you creating a financial disaster, if you are not properly trained to maintain your finances. People who make more money and have no financial discipline are more prone to losing it all because they have more at stake. They make more money, they buy bigger houses, buy more expensive cars, create more expenses, and now need to be able to sustain that lifestyle.
The solution to the problem is to Budget your Expenses! Whether you have a lot of money, a lil' money, or no money at all, learning how to budget your expenses will alleviate ever having to worry about how you are going to maintain the necessities. Budgeting your expenses is about creating a road map for your life. It’s about planning and strategizing and knowing how you are going to get to your financial destination. It’s about not relying on chance, hope, or fate to guide you through your finances.
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail, so you must create a budget that you can adhere to and follow religiously. Your budget must be listed first in the order of necessity, then want. After you complete your budget, if you notice that you are paying out more money than you actually receive, you must begin to remove some of the things on your list beginning with the want column. Your budget also must include money for savings and for entertainment. Savings and Entertainment are vital components of a budget that will help keep your sanity! Work Hard! Play Hard! But do it within reason.
Before you begin the process of creating a budget, there are a few things you must take into consideration. First, creating a budget is not a punishment. It is not meant to be difficult, and it is not meant to complicate things. It is meant to free you of stress and give you balance and the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it (within your means). Do not fool yourself! In order for your budget to really work, you must make sure your budget contains realistic goals that you can keep. If you love to go out drinking with friends, and under entertainment you have $0, you are only fooling yourself. Maybe cut out the cable bill, since you’re really never home and put that money towards entertainment. The key is to be realistic.
The following are the steps that you need to take in order to create a successful budget:
Get it together: The first step in creating a budget is to get all of your documents together. This should include all financial statements, investments, pay stubs, dividends, annuities, child support, alimony, everything! Anything you pay out every month, and everything you get in - if you have a statement, put it together. This will help you get organized in order to create the budget accurately.
Show me what you got: whether you're using the manual or electronic version of a budget, you must write down all the sources of income that you receive.
Give it to me: Write down all of your expenses in the expense column, recording everything that has to be paid each month. First and foremost, you'll record your "pay yourself first" money. Then your mortgage/rent payment, car payment/transportation cost, any insurance payments, food, utilities, entertainment, dry cleaning/laundry, and everything else you spend money on each month.
Break it down: First, break down your expenses into two categories; fixed and variable. Fixed expenses are expenses that don't change from month-to-month. Variable expenses are expenses that can vary depending on usage (make sure that you monitor your variable expenses so that they don’t go over a certain amount each month).
Add it up: Total up all of your income and expenses, making sure that expenses aren't greater than income. If income is greater than expenses, congratulations, you have more money to save. If expenses are greater than income, then you must make adjustments to your expenses; first try to minimize or limit things that are not a necessity (never adjust your "pay yourself first" money).
Check yourself: It is imperative that you review your budget monthly, and make all the necessary adjustments as your life changes. It is irresponsible to think that your expenses are just going to remain the same from month-to-month.
All in all saving for the future and having good credit are both important if you are looking to become a more responsible adult. The more you take care of your responsibilities, and the more you don't have to worry about money, the less stressed you will be. Paying yourself first should be your first and most important bill that you pay every month. After that, you need to follow your budget which should include your plan to fix your credit. Once you have those wheels in motion, THE WORLD IS YOURS!! You will be well on your way to financial freedom! Mind Right! Money Right!!
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Ash’Cash is a Business Consultant, Motivational Speaker, Financial Expert and the author of Mind Right, Money Right: 10 Laws of Financial Freedom. For more information, please visit his website, www.IamAshCash.com.