Yes, I am a financial service and banking professional, but it may interest you to know to I have also struggled with budgeting a number of times. Like you, I’ve been flat broke at times due to one ‘story’ or another.
The biggest “story” I hear is, “if I had more money, then everything would be better.” But that is a myth and i can attest to it. When business was booming for me and I mean Blowing up!. Hell, my net monthly income was a mid 5 figure, yet I was still finding my self juggling my business and personal expenses almost every month. So let’s move away from the ideas, for now, that you need to either have multiple streams of income or start a new home based business to get a hold of your finances.
Over and over again I had wholeheartedly declared that I would no longer stray from my budget, but like an overweight child starting on a diet, I found myself facing and yielding to diverse spending temptations like they were cupcakes. Hmmpphh!
Here are a few typical things we often say when it comes to money issues:
1. Why don’t I ever have enough money?
2. Where did it all go?
3. Why can’t my family spend less? (Totally my favorite. LOL)
4. Wait, I’m broke again?
5. By next month, we will tighten up the reins, get on track and start saving.
…I call them “money conversations.” They were all part of my arsenal. Tormenting me as though I was possessed by a thousand demons.
But the year 2009 came with a messiah in the form of a ‘personal effectiveness course’. The veil was finally pulled from my eyes, and I realized that I had been asking the wrong questions all along; making statements that only fueled the fire of my ‘money conversations.’ Oh! the years I wasted telling myself this garbage. Wasted years, indeed.
I literally had a mental block when the ‘money conversations’ topic was brought up in the course. My mind tried so hard to shelter myself from the pain already stuffed deep down, hoping the world would give me a temporary sense of happiness and fulfillment. It felt like the Visa commercials where the view from your hut overlooking the Tahiti is priceless, but to get that priceless moment; it’ll cost $10k for just one trip. See? Even the big wig ad agencies have played on our internal weakness of that need to buy stuff to help us get a temporary relief of our real inner pain. Sad, isn’t it?
…So how do we fix our budget issues?
You thought this article was really going to be about budgeting, right? Aww. Cute.
The bitter reality is that it is YOUR THINKING, you will discover to be the problem, not the money. YOU are the actual challenge. Even our parents at one point realized this bitter truth, either they thought it was to late or they just weren’t kind enough to pass it along.
Don’t worry; you weren’t born with this. It has been passed down your family line not by DNA, but by generational habits. It is like when you first discovers what “little white lies” are and how they could be used to your advantage, and gotten away with. That moment, one realizes that control over one’s choices is achievable and that, my friend, is where the fault lies.
4 unconventional budgeting tips our parents should have not only told us but showed us:
1. “If it is meant to be then it is up to me”
Take responsibility for all your budgeting short falls and get the “stories” out of your head. Your mindset will be paramount when getting your budget in shape! This should not be something you “have to do” but rather “get to do”.
2. “How is this situation or transaction impacting my budgeting habits?”
Keep asking “the question.” While transforming your budget, you will GET opportunities to constantly ask yourself that specific questions and it is NOT okay to NOT answer it. The next time you are tempted to make a purchase, like concert tickets or that new purse ask “the question.” When you get a year end bonus and you are debating to pay down your auto loan or take that vacation ask yourself “the questions”. This budget tip may seem lame, but I assure you that when you challenge your subconscious habits with this question you will WIN this budget war.
3. You have landed on budget island, it is time to burn the ships and conquer your budget
Take massive and drastic actions NOW. Get a journal and take 10 minutes on the first page and write what your financial life will look like in 3 years when you conquer your budget challenge. Go through your bank and credit card statements and categorize the debit transactions. Look at what is essential and whats not. Now cut the financial fat and get rid of everything (for now) that is not essential. You will not reward your self till you can prove to yourself that you can responsibly manage your money.
Go to your bank and set up a “special” savings account that will set aside all the money that is left over from your income after you have paid your essential bills and obligations. This is easy to do since you know how much you make and how much you actually need to spend to keep yourself alive. and we call this my friend, a budget! WOW! For some of you this will be the FIRST time you have actually put this in writing and I want to congratulate you on taking the first steps to budget bliss. What you will find is that if you stick to this budget, you see the “special” savings account grow.
I want you to set a 12 month goal of what that balance will be and what you will spend 30% of that on to really pamper your self. Do you have it? Great! Now add that to your journal as a goal! I want you to look at your first journal entry and that goal everyday for the next 12 months. You should write in that journal every day and record at least 1 thing you did that helped you get one step closer to your financial destination and how it makes you feel. I also want you to enter in at least 1 thing that you are grateful for that day at that moment. because when you have an attitude of gratitude, great things happen!
4. Get a coach or an accountability partner
This last one is for the people who know they will need to get a push to get their budget under control. I find it funny that people seek out someone to help them get into better physical shapes or even to become a better actor or actress, but they never think about getting a financial coach or just having someone who will hold them financially accountable. Enlisting the services of a financial coach or accountability partner will increase your success rate by 72%. And some of us need all the help we can get.
I assure you that from the moment you start taking on your real inner challenges, your budget will flourish. Face your fears and get to work!