#10 Buddy the Budget
Aim at nothing and you will hit it every time. Zig Ziglar
A budget is liberating. It is not the B word. If you call something (or someone) a nasty name, even in jest, it becomes a truth. Call it a spending plan if you must. Call it Billy Bob. We call it forecasting. It doesn’t matter what you call it; just know what your income is and what your expenses are. Ensure that expenses are less than income. At least every month.
Track your spending for a couple of months before you get started. Tracking expenses will really help you see where you spend your money. Don’t cheat. I took a bowling class in college (“He took a what now?” you may be asking). The winner of the class tournament did not have to take the surprisingly intense final exam. Our class set handicaps on the first day to level the playing field. Naturally, I bowled left-handed. Note: I am not left-handed. I can barely eat with my left hand. When the tournament started, I was suddenly a righty. Yes, we did win the tournament. Yes, I am ashamed of myself.
Don’t bowl left-handed. Don’t go out and buy a bunch of shoes, tools, toys, clothes, or restaurant gift cards before you start your budget. Act right. Pay attention for 30 days and start from there.
Which brings us back to the budget being liberating. Saying “no” becomes easier if you have a deal, an accord, an operating agreement, a mutual understanding, someone to lovingly hold you accountable, or just a stinkin‘ plan. If the deal is with yourself or your spouse – a deal’s a deal. You don’t worry if there is enough money in your bank account if you stick to the budget and spend less than you make. Caution: don’t be a miser. Proceed with grace. When you hold on too tightly to money, it will defeat the whole purpose and typically it squeezes right out of your hand. Or even worse, money will become your god – a horrible, merciless, unforgiving, oppressive, impersonal god.
What do you call your budget/spending plan?
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