Quit Being Terrible at Budgeting
For most people budgeting is just kind of keeping in the back of their mind that they have bills that need paid at the end of the month. If they even do that. Usually it’s getting paid, going to the club, buying shoes, buying a purse, buying cigarettes, or getting that big ass dinner or lunch you’ve been craving. Not even thinking about what you needed that money for. Then, when you get the cable bill in the mail, you act all surprised like you don’t get that bill every damn month.
When most people start to budget, they are at least thinking about those bills. They know they need to pay them, but damn that pizza looks good right now. They just have to grab a slice, figuring they’ll find out how to get the money for the bills later. Maybe that girl at the bar is giving you the look and even though you budgeted $30 bucks to go out, if you get her a drink you might get a nice reward. Two hours later she’s gone, and so is $100. No one wins. The bills don’t get paid at the end of the month and you’re back to square one.
There are many good reasons to start budgeting properly, here are a few:
- Trying to save for a large purchase
- Planning for the future
- Just want a close eye on spending
- Get out of debt
- Make it easier to keep track of bills
- Leave behind money for your family
- Pay for kids to go to school
I’ve tried to teach people how to budget by showing them the budget I use.
I use an excel spreadsheet and it helps me to see how every dollar I spend will flow through my budget over the next three years (this is a very old version of that budget). It’s clean and easy to use, but it takes a little bit to set up. On the left you enter your income, and in the red areas you enter your costs for each month, all the totals calculate for you over several years. I’ve literally given this blank template to people and helped them set it up, and they don’t use it. If you want it, send me a message @fdominek on twitter and I’ll send you a copy.
Budgeting is very basic. Write down how much money you make. Write down a list of your monthly costs. Make sure to leave a little for fun money, assuming you aren’t up against the wall with your bills.
Just keep doing this every month and you’re on your way to a nice nest egg, or whatever it is you’re trying to plan for. Ideally you would have this mapped out for a long period of time, and to save yourself the manual effort you would use a tool like excel to help automate things. Unfortunately — this isn’t what ends up happening.
The budget turns into this within a month or two. All the good intentions and planning go out the window and the urges take over. You over spend, and put what you couldn’t afford on the credit card. The card you’re barely paying in the first place (there is a better way to use credit cards). On top of that, after the second month you probably gave up on the “write a budget monthly” idea entirely since it felt like too much hassle.
Instead of getting into details about how to budget, and trying to protect you from yourself by asking you to lock your money in five separate boxes, spread those boxes into different parts of the city, and only open the box when the moon is full on a Tuesday night. I’m going to explain why you are bad with money and what you might be able to do to change that.
You are bad with money because you do not have restraint or self-control. If you have a pack of Oreo’s in the cabinet you eat the Oreo’s, even when you’re on a diet. You don’t need the Oreo’s. You need to control yourself. It’s the same with money, you don’t need the pizza, the purse, the shoes, or to get that girls number (and if you do need the number, just don’t buy her a drink). You’re like most of the kids eating the cookies in this video, you know you can have even more if you wait — but you want it now!
Some ‘experts’ tell you to pay for everything with cash, don’t take out loans, credit is the devil. If those people are wealthy themselves then they’re either lying about how much money they have or they think you’re too stupid and incapable of self control to take good advice. They are holding back great financial advice in favor of giving you the idiot’s guide. They don’t think you’re capable of being successful. They just want to help you survive. Help you exist. I want more for you. I want you to succeed.
It all starts with you, you have to decide that you’re going to make the change and take control of your financial life. Then there are simple ways to start practicing self control. If you love to drink soda, then maybe cut back on soda for a whole week. Zero soda’s for a whole week. If you want to work out more, make sure that every day when you wake up you do ten push-ups or 10 leg lifts (lying on your back). It doesn’t matter that this little bit of exercise will have zero impact physically. The point is that you’re not only exercising your body, you’re exercising your will and your ability to control your own behavior.
As you get more used to taking this type of control over your own life you can expand this into your budget. First, just make sure that every day after you finish the day, you write down every expense you had for the day (keep the receipts!). Then once you get used to writing down your expenses every day, you can start building your budget. You can use the manual version in the pictures, or the excel version if you messaged me on Twitter. Either way is fine. Later I’ll do an analysis on some of the popular budgeting applications out there today and see if maybe it makes sense to use those instead.
That’s the basics, take control of yourself and own your own actions. Choose what you will and will not do, don’t be driven by impulse. In no time, you’ll be a budgeting master taking the world by storm!
If you want to learn more about what to do about money and success then don’t forget to follow me @fdominek on twitter, join our mailing list for email updates about new content, or if you want to really show your support then check me out on Patreon. Sometimes I release helpful or entertaining videos; find that on youtube. When I travel or speak, the resulting tourist pictures will end up on Instagram, at least the ones I like. There might be other pictures too. Last, but not least, Facebook — check out the page and send me some follows and likes.
If you want to learn more about my life and how I found success — check out my book here: What To Do About Money and Success
If you want to get up to date with the revolution check out my posts @ www.bastarddemocracy.com
Originally published at evolvedslave.com on April 5, 2017.