Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sticking to Your Budget
It's getting harder and harder I'm afraid to live on one income for so many...and for others job losses and cuts are WORSE! For those of us who are attempting to thrive in such situations, there is always hope of a better tomorrow, but not just some fleeting feeling, we must take serious actions to avoid the "poor house." Living on less will require changes in lifestyle. I know I must sound like the cheapmiser from the deep, but if you are already working on your budget and spending habits, thinking long and hard on ways to save and make what you have go a little farther, if the crunch comes to your door, you are prepared or at the very least aware of some good habits that formed long before to make it an easier transition. Over the years, I have found a couple of things that are key to staying on task.
First I do not watch television~WHAT? Oh yeah! And there are several reasons why, but a good one which is just a benefit of the actual reason is this: I am not receiving the mindless marketing that is pandered on the thing each day of my life! Do not get me wrong, TV can offer some very good things~note the word: some. As far as marketing though, I prefer not to have my 'want monster' riled up to make me dissatisfied or dreaming of something I may not have~contentment is very peaceful. It's an art many of us do not have. . .and it has to be cultivated. So find other useful and rewarding things to do with your time instead of allowing programmers and marketeers to put their desires into your heart and mind~leave it be! AND you will find a whole world of God's beauty around you!
Second I write down my goals. Actually they are goals that are not just mine, but my families' goals that are phases. They are me, me & hubby, me, hubby & kids~then they go: day, week, mo, year~five years. List out your financial thoughts...if you are 40-something and want to retire sometime before 100, make a plan with goals up front.
Third Write the plan~under each goal write what you will do and have your spouse write they will do, then gain the kid's cooperation on it. When we shared with our children our goals, suddenly keeping lights turned off and doors closed or other cost savers along with their training became easier. One suggestion is to share the benefits of the plan with the children. Some do not give allowances, but we always have done so. Not as much as some families we know, but we have allowed our children to experience the responsibility of managing their own money for their own desires. This is been wonderful to see them grow into responsible money managers. It's funny how my daughter is one of the most generous girls her age I know for her resources, but she always has money and is constantly looking to earn more. We not only give allowances for their benefit, but offer opportunities to earn more with special projects. This gives them a sense of great accomplishment when they take care of an area that we would have paid someone else, perhaps a teen to help. Working and earning brings satisfaction~it's a win-win!
Lastly~WORK and be prepared to REwork the plan as much and as many times as is necessary to accomplish the goals. Our goals, even my personal goals have changed over the years and adjustments are necessary from time to time. When I know my plan I can perform the tasks to meet the budget.
Working the budget looks like this for me:
1. knowing the goals
2. having a plan
3. working and reworking the plan
OK..so I've TV-BASHED, but think about it. What is TV robbing you of, or giving you? Be honest. . .anyone else out there turned or turning theirs off in light of not being marketed? WHAT out also for email and internet~'friend' selling. I'm all for sharing good information and networks, but it can be mind numbing to find, and I am truly turned off by blogs and websites loaded with places for me to "grab" that really WANT to grab me! I prefer simpler blogging and less pressure selling. What about you? Do you like all the buttons and banners flashing?
Let's stay on our budgets~keeping our money or at least slowing down the leak from our pockets!