Advertising
Advertising

4 Unconventional Budgeting Tips Our Parents Should Have Taught Us

4 Unconventional Budgeting Tips Our Parents Should Have Taught Us

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.

Advertising

…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?

Gotcha!

Advertising

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”.

Advertising

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!

Advertising

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!

More by this author

bogota street art 4 Unconventional Budgeting Tips Our Parents Should Have Taught Us The Thief In All Of Us

Trending in Budget Activity

1 6 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself 2 7 Websites to Sell Used Stuff Profitably 3 Seven Tips to Save Money While Renovating Your Home 4 4 Ways to Make Every Penny Stretch in 2017 5 Getting Out of Debt in 4 Simple Steps

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

Advertising

4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

Advertising

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

Advertising

5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

Advertising

3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next