Budgets are like diets and credit cards are like junk food and everybody would like to spend as much money as they want without occurring debt and eat everything they like without getting fat. But the reality of life is the only thing that can make you to be skinny and rich is you. Y.O.U. you.
A lot of people want the easy way out, that’s why there are diet pills and financing options. People want things NOW and they believe they deserve it. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me, I deserve to be pampered. I think I’ll get a pedicure and put it on my credit.” Now hear me out; there is nothing wrong with pedicures (or whatever is an indulgence is for you.) All of these things can be good, but you do not deserve them. They are luxuries to be earned, and if you partake in luxuries by over extending you limits (charging it) or putting them before priorities (food, shelter, etc.) then you need to have a good long look in the mirror and realize that YOU are a major factor in a very big financial problem.
So why are budgets like diets? Diets help is recognize that we are lacking self-control with our eating and exercising habits. Diets give us a plan to get us back on track. They help us realize that you have to tell yourself “no” right now in order to benefit later. And if you give in, you’ll be sweating it out try to burn off all your extra debt and calories. When you don't have a plan for your money then you can get in over your head pretty quickly.
I can’t knock credit cards entirely because well, I use them. But just like junk food you have to limit yourself with credit cards. A little bit everyone once in awhile is okay, but too much junk food and too much credit card spending can cause major problems. If credit cards are something that you struggle with then cut them out of your life. Just like if cupcakes are your diet downfall, don't go into a bakery for awhile.
And just like diets, not every budget is for every person. Everyone manages their lives differently. Therefore everyone should handle their money in the way that works best for them and their family. Maybe you’ve tried a written budget and are struggling to keep up with it. Maybe you and your spouse are not on the same page. Maybe you’re single and with no one to keep you accountable you’re maxing out your credit cards trying to maintain a lifestyle you cannot really afford.
I know a lot of people think of budgets as “boring” (I am not one of those people) But keeping track of your finances is like washing the dishes. The dishes are a chore few enjoy doing but if you ignore them the dirty ones pile up in the sink making your whole kitchen smell until you run out of clean ones and now have a mess on your hands. You’re money is the same way, if you ignore it and keep spending you’ll end up broke with a pile of debt to clean up.
You need self-control in order to make a plan for yourself and stay on it. It's not easy but it is totally worth it. Over the next few weeks I'm going to be sharing many ways to plan and keep track of your money. I hope to provide a place where people can gather information and pick and choose which ideas work best for them. Remember, the only person who can make you skinny and rich is YOU.