Thinking about money can sometimes be a scary thing, but it really doesn’t have to be! It’s all just a mindset shift. I started really being serious about budgeting in my mid-twenties and it’s the BEST thing I ever did for my financial future and stress level over money. I always say that having a budget is not a limitation, it’s freedom.
So, I’m sharing 6 easy ways to improve your budget and financial future today that I’ve learned from personal experience.
1. Write a list of every bill and expense you pay each month.
This should include everything from your rent or mortgage to groceries and gas. If you pay for it during the month, no matter what it is, write it down. Then, you can actually see where all of your money is going and start deciding what you want to change, update, rearrange, delete, etc.
2. Get a Budget Notebook
I am a HUGE supporter of writing things down. You most likely know that about me by now! 🙂 I’m a planner girl, so this is key for me and I know how much it would help you too. Get a notebook that you can write all of your financial stuff in. It can be a simple lined notebook like I started with, or the actual Budget Notebook I designed years ago that is the perfect place to keep track of everything.
3. Set a Monthly Spending Cash Amount
Separate from your main bills and expenses like rent, gas, groceries, etc., set a specific amount of actual CASH aside in your wallet that you have available for fun luxuries or extra things you may want to do during the month. They key with this concept is once it is gone, it is gone, and you can’t pull out any more money or spend any more money on extras that month. For example, you set aside $200 for the month in spending cash. You get a pedicure, purchase a new top, go out to eat lunch with a friend, and maybe pick up a few other goodies throughout the month. All of this totals $200 but it’s only the 20th of the month. Now you wait until the 1st of the new month to pull spending cash and start again. No spending on extras from the 21st through the 31st. Or, make a smaller budget for spending cash each week and make it last. That’s what I would do.
4. Make a Promise to Yourself
As I mentioned earlier, budgeting is all about a mindset shift. An easy way to make this change is to make a promise to yourself that you will do everything in your power to improve your financial future and stability. This may mean you promise to start a budget at all, or sit down once a week to review your finances and make real changes. Whatever the promise may be, make it to yourself and write it in your planner so you see it often. Not breaking a promise to yourself is a great motivator to stay on track.
5. Talk with Someone You Trust
Do you know a close friend or family member who is amazingly smart with their money and is in a financial situation you admire? Ask if you can sit down with them and get advice on how they do things. You don’t have to talk about actual numbers or private details, but you can learn so much from them about HOW they run their financial life. If anything, you might catch one key nugget of info that clicks in your mind during the convo and changes your mindset for the better long term!
6. Say Good Riddance to Things You Don’t Use or Need
After you write down everything you spend in a month, take a hard look at the list and circle anything that you don’t really use, or just don’t need to be happy and healthy. Do you have an Amazon Prime subscription but never use it? Do you subscribe to Disney + but never really watch it? Cut out anything that you’re not 100% excited about or absolutely need. It’s like decluttering, but budget style!
There’s a lot more on budgeting here, but I hope these tips inspired you to either get started on a new budget or improve the one you currently have. It’s a passion of mine and once you really get going, it’s exciting to see what you can do to help yourself in the future!