As the New Year approaches, we all look ahead and see a blank slate. No matter what happened in 2012, we know that we’re going to accomplish EVERYTHING in 2013. We’ve got big plans, big dreams, and the future looks so bright we need some flippin’ sweet shades! And as the year rolls around, we step out the front door, ready to take on the world. The only problem is…..we forgot to put on pants!
You Need A Plan
Many believe that success is sometimes a fluke, or a big break. You just end up in the right place at the right time, and everything just falls in to place. Even the media plays to this stereotype, calling people an “overnight success!” What they don’t talk about is the years and years of hard work and dedication put into being an overnight success.
I’ve seen over and over people taking on this same mentality with their finances. They feel like they just can’t get ahead, and if they “just got a raise”, or “just got that promotion”, they could finally succeed financially. With all due respect to anyone in that situation, I believe this is a complete load of crap! You have more control of your circumstances than you give yourself credit for, all you need to do is start making decisions today that will get you ahead tomorrow.
Specifically, what I’m talking about is putting together a sweet, sweet budget! Yes, budgets can be the object of your passion, and once you see what I’ve seen them do for people, you’ll start to “Heart Budgets” too! But how can they actually help you?
Here are 5 reasons to start a budget for 2013:
- You Don’t Know Where You Money Is Going. Now, I’m sure most people know which bills they pay each month, and possibly how much they’re spending in gas and other necessities, but a majority of people do not know where every dollar is going. What I have found is that most of the extra money disappears on unplanned discretionary purchases and food (including restaurants). And those extra, unplanned purchases can add up to hundreds, or even thousands of dollars a month. Putting a budget in place is a way to assign every dollar, and help you find
- You Didn’t Accomplish This Year’s Goals. This time last year, you were feeling exactly the same way. You had stars in your eyes and a list of New Year’s resolutions that you were going to accomplish. Then life happened, and many of those financial goals you were hoping to hit got put on hold, or maybe they just disappeared by the end of January. I know this, because it’s happened to me as well. Putting a budget together and planning your goals by using budgeting tools like savings buckets will virtually guarantee that you WILL hit your goals. It’s as easy as setting a goal, figuring out how long it will take to get there, and saving each month toward that goal.
- You Just Got A Raise. Year-end raises happen for most working professionals, so now’s the perfect time to plan where that money should go. Like I said above, many people just hope for a big break to help them get ahead. The problem is, even when you DO get that raise or promotion, it gets eaten up by lifestyle inflation, and most people aren’t able to fully utilize that extra money to help them get ahead. I suggest living on the same amount next year as you did this year, putting together a budget plan and setting up automatic savings at your bank to put that extra money toward one of your savings goals or retirement funds.
- You Didn’t Get A Raise. If you did not get a year-end raise this year, why not give yourself one? When Michelle and sat down and put together our first budget, we were surprised to see that we had more money than we originally thought. When we got married and moved out of town, we were able to survive on only $14 an hour because we had an awesome budget put together. We were living better on that money than when I made $17 an hour back home! Even though my income went down, I gave myself a raise by creating a budget and sticking to it.
- You Want To Have More Fun This Year! Yes, I know, when you think of fun, it’s more cotton candy, hot dogs, nachos, bacon burgers, popcorn (hmmm, note to self: don’t blog when hungry…) and roller coasters. When I think of having a fun time, I can’t separate it from putting together an awesome budget to ensure I have the most fun possible! If you really want to enjoy your vacations, outings, and parties in 2013, put together a budget, and don’t forget to plan in some fun. For us, we have a savings bucket for vacations and birthdays, which allows us to spend all that money guilt-free and fully enjoy each occasion. We also give ourselves spending cash each month to blow on whatever we want, like a Justin Bieber singing toothbrush (yes, we actually own one). The best events I’ve ever enjoyed were fully planned and funded ahead of time. You really can relax and enjoy yourself when you’re not worried about whether or not you can actually afford something.
So, have you put together a budget for 2013?
I just put together our FY13 budget. We’ve got it all mapped out on a master spreadsheet page that shows our whole year, and we (roughly) planned out each month’s expenses. It was super easy to put together, and we could see how much money we need each month, as well as set some goals for extra income so we can hit some more goals in 2013. Seeing everything on paper motivates me to not only stick to the budget, but to start finding ways to save and earn more each month. It gets me really excited for the possibilities of 2013!
If you haven’t setup your budget, or if it just seems too intimidating, feel free to contact me directly, and I can put together a budget for you as part of our Budget Friday series. I’ll even send you a personalized spreadsheet afterwards so you can start living out your budget plan! 2013 is going to be an exciting year, how are you planning to make the most of it?