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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.

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…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!

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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”.

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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!

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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!

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Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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