Nothing makes me feel more in control of my life and the way I’m living than my budget. Call me crazy, but I love knowing where my money is going and I get a thrill from socking away money like a squirrel.
I was taught from a young age to save. When my brother and I got money as birthday gifts, at least part of it went into our savings accounts. Our meticulous savings bought us things here and there, but for the most part once money went in, it stayed there.
I started working the summer I turned sixteen and I hoarded money like nobody’s business. I worked as a lifeguard making very little money for the amount of hours I worked and the effort I put in (especially given the fact that I was trusted with so many lives). The thought of movie tickets or lunch out only reminded me that it took me a couple hours of work to make that money back. While my coworkers bought iPhones and went on trips, I spent half of my first and last paychecks and saved the rest.
This habit has stuck with me. I am slow to spend money and quick to save. I made myself budgets before I realized that was what I was doing. I have never once regretted saving my money. It has bought me so much more by staying in my savings account.
Why You Should Have a Budget
Have you ever heard of a F**k Off Fund? You need one. To make one, you have to save.
Do you know where your money is going? I can bet there is at least one or two expenses in your life you could cut and put that money in your savings or toward paying off your debt. A quick look at last month’s statements or a money tracking app can open your eyes and help you cut back (and cry about spending $400 at Whole Foods each month).
Peace of mind! You won’t have to worry about paying the bills or having enough money for that extra thing. Once you get in the habit of only spending your allotted amount you don’t have to think about it anymore. Money and saving it becomes so much less stressful.
A budget allows you to set aside money for the future. Whether it’s for Coachella tickets that you buy with birthday money six months from now or big financial goals like buying a house, a savings account buys you so much more than money in your wallet.
You Won’t Regret It. Ever.
Not once have I thought “why do I bother tracking my spending or saving so much?” I have gone through periods where I was saving nearly 80 percent of the money I was making (to be fair, I was living at home and working towards buying my car).
Yes, you will have to say “no” to some things. Concerts, drinks or dinner out, trips. But that doesn’t mean it’s always “no” or that you can’t have fun. And trust me, everyone will understand and respect you for it. Not once have my friends been upset when I said I couldn’t do something because it just wasn’t in my budget.
For the most part, I have been able to do all of those things because of my budget. I have savings and extra money each month to spend however I want. Some months I put my spending money in savings knowing that I have a trip coming up or a night out with friends that I’d rather spend it on.
Start a Budget
Save your money, please, I’m begging you. So is your savings account and the voice in your mind that can’t stop stressing about money.
Ready to start saving? Start here:
Try a short-term (or hell, year-long!) shopping ban.
Instead of buying something immediately, put it on the list and wait for two weeks or 30 days.
Make a plan to become debt free.
Figure out your steps to financial freedom.
Shop online? Block your favorite site for a week or two just to see how you feel. Turn off one-click shopping to reduce impulse or lazy buys (hello toilet paper on Amazon).