In yesterday’s post we looked at what happens when you blow your budget. Today we want to look at the opportunities you have to reach your goals regardless of what problem you may be facing, whether that’s an income issue – not earning enough, or an expense issue – having too many costs and bills or spending money where you should not be spending it (luxuries). Below are a few things that come to my mind that perhaps may help you to reach your goals when it comes to balancing your budget.
1. Accountability towards someone
Find someone that will walk with you through your financial journey. This could be your spouse, partner, family member, a friend you truly trust, a “financial adviser,” etc. My example is my wife. I am responsible for all out finances and fiscal related topics however she knows at all times where we stand, what flows where and what happens when. She has access to everything the way I do and we find that important. Its not that the “burden” of budgeting remains with me (I find it fun!), but it keeps both of us accountable at all times knowing what, when and how much. If she goes out to buy a new pair of jeans and shoes – totally cool. If I want a new tech toy, absolutely fine as long as we remain in the budget we have set our goal on. And of course all of this comes with a healthy dosis of communication.
That being said, find an accountability partner or group, someone you respect and trust to talk through with on your challenges you may have. Often, an objective person with unbiased views (not someone trying to sell you a financial product), can assist you in filtering through your issues to determine whether you have a spending issue or you really need to make more income. That person will also help you remain accountable through positive pressure to make sure you stick and attain your goals.
2. Positive mindset
Its not easy especially when your struggling through lots of financial burdens, but remain positive. Keeping a positive mindset through tough challenges will not only make you a better person, but help you through the situation. You may see things from a different perspective, you may look at your challenges and opportunities from a different angle and it may help you recognize that this is only a temporary situation regardless of how long you have been burdened financially, because in the end its up to you to improve your overall situation – make more or cut more costs.
3. Do not panic
Panic is never good. Always try to remain calm and relaxed. Going into panic mode will help no one especially not you. It won’t make money magically appear to help you through and it won’t benefit your health and/or mental state either (see point 2 above). Panicking can cripple you. When you notice that your expenses are higher than your income the first reaction is to panic. That’s normal. But try to be aware and resist panicking. Go take a walk, try to clear your head so you can focus on the positive things, be thankful for what you do have and through that clear your mind so you can look at the whole situation from a holistic point of view. If you can manage your emotions, especially when it comes to finances you will end up making better decisions.
4. Accept that something needs to change
Humans are creatures of habit. We tend to do things because they are easy, comfortable and so forth and making a change is not always easy but at time it is absolutely necessary. And in order for you to reach your financial goals and balancing your budget you need to accept change. When you go on spend more than your budget allows or more than you actually make, you need to come to terms with yourself and understand that this cannot go on forever. The change in this equation might be that you need to reevaluate your budget, give up on things like luxuries or look how you can earn an extra cent, an increase in salary, getting a second job and so forth. Once you accept that change needs to happen, it’ll become easier and you can go about and being correcting the issue.
5. What’s your motivation?
All of us have a reason as to why we save money, make money and spend money. Always! (Even if your not consciously aware of it). Find your motivation as to what you want in life when it comes to your financial goals as that will be important to fixing the problem of overspending or not earning enough. Take a deep breath and remember why you started a budget process in the first place. Regardless of what that motivation may be, whether it was to get or stay out of debt, put money aside for retirement, or put money towards a vacation, ask yourself everyday “Is this expense more important than my goal?”. If you really are motivated to succeed, than you will find a way to make more, cut back on spending or any other creative solution you may come across. And remember this is not something forced upon you. You can learn it and over time it’ll become genuine, but it there needs to be a genuine interest from the beginning to achieve your goals.
That being said, these are just a few suggestions to help spur some thoughts on how you can reach your budgetary goals. Cut expenses, earn more so that you always have enough money for a rainy day. My philosophy is you need to have at least 6 months worth of “operating” budget – whether that’s for your family or your business to get through should a rainy day ever come.
And again, this isn’t Hermann’s cookie cutter solution. Every situation is unique and depends on your individual scenerio. You need to understand your situation and see what is best in regards to what will make the most impact towards your life through more income or cutting expenses. Whatever it is you opt for, don’t overwhelm yourself. Do something, adjust, tweak, adjust again and see what works best. Stay motivated, always hustle hard and one morning you’ll wake up being grateful that you can pay your bills and enjoy life. That is the dream.