When funds are tight, doing the budget can cause feelings of guilt, shame, overwhelm, and even depression. So, of course, we avoid it. Am-i-right?
Here's the deal though, budgeting is even more significant when there isn't much money available. Why? Because, when you only have $50 for the next two weeks and over half of that goes to gas you need to know where every penny is. Otherwise, you'll be paying overdraft fees. The bank's sweet way of reminding us why we need a budget. I'm grateful for overdraft fees though. Hate them as I do, it is good to recognize that the fear of overdraft fees do work, most of the time, to remind us to keep our bank accounts positive.
Then you can guilt-free order that pizza with your last $20 bucks, eat up, watch some Teen Wolf on Netflix, and distract yourself from your money problems. Been there, done that, used the coupons.
In fact, half of all American households currently live paycheck to paycheck according to a 2017 report in MarketWatch. That is something worth repeating. HALF of all Americans are struggling to make ends meet on a regular basis.
Take a further look at that data and see that 19% of Americans have no emergency funds saved up and only 31% have $500 in emergency savings. This debt crisis isn't happening to people who are under the poverty line, as some would believe, this is America's middle class and young folks also.
Why, with this data which has been available for a decade, are we not teaching children how to manage their money? Why is this not on the front page of the news? Everyone should be aware of the need to become educated about budgeting, credits cards, living within our means, and saving money.
A lot of folks think having more money will make their lives easier and therefore happier. Even though there is the old saying of, "Money can't buy happiness." I have caught myself daydreaming of my life when I have more money - it is always a rosy picture. Let's just pretend for a moment that money can increase your happiness. With that thought, 50% of us are struggling to pay our rent each month, so what does that say about the current state of happiness for this country?
Money can increase your happiness, in fact, science has proven it can if spent in the right way. One of those ways is by lowering your stress.
So, if you budget your money accordingly and you spend it on experiences or getting more time by paying others to do your chores, money CAN buy you happiness. Brilliant! So let's get budgeting and start taking steps towards improving our happiness!
So, step one is to round up all the information outlined in the 4 items above. Once you have that information, it is time to move on to your budget.
When I first started, I just used an Excel spreadsheet and that is what I'm going to show you how to set up in the second part of this blog series. There are a bunch of budgeting apps now available and we've tried quite a few but let's get the basics down first and then we can go over some of the popular apps.
So, I encourage you to get the items listed above gathered together so you're ready for the next step. If you have any questions, I'm happy to help out! Just leave a comment.
Stay tuned for part two!