Enjoying life now while simultaneously planning for a secure future requires a solid grasp of how and where your money is spent day-to-day. Writing a clear budget is an important step toward financial well-being. A well-written budget or spending plan allows enough money to spend on things you want now, while still ensuring that you have plenty for other obligations.
The key here is that budgeting must be a physical activity as well as a mental one. Budgets are evolving, will need regular review, and are continually in need of revision.
Once you have a healthy and sound budget, you have to give consideration to your overall cash flow and financial allocation. Cash flow budgeting takes your regular budget to the next level by also considering the timing of financial inflows and outflows.
Do you get paid weekly, monthly, or in some other irregular intervals? Are most of your financial outlays coming at the beginning of the month vs. the end of the month? Are there large expenditures that you have to make a couple of times a year? These are all questions to ask yourself while determining your cash flow budget.
Needs vs. Wants
You can choose to live one of three ways: beyond your means, within your means, or beneath your means. By having a good understanding of your personal values in coordination with what you consider your needs and your wants, you can make decisions that help to ensure that you are not living beyond your means and sacrificing your financial security.
Your needs and wants are personal to you and dependant on which stage of life you are currently in. Although some basic needs are not up for discussion, the vast majority of your financial outlays should be given consideration. A successful and healthy lifestyle includes both needs and wants — but in the right proportion.
Getting comfortable with forgoing some wants and desires in favor of long term financial success is not easy to do. Additionally, you should not have to give up the fun, unnecessary aspects of life all the time. It’s all about striking a balance and being more intentional with each purchase.
It is just way too easy to spend money these days. A swipe here, a tap there, a new app, a monthly subscription, the daily stop into the coffee shop — it all adds up really fast. One key thing you can do is: Before you make a purchase, ask: will it get me closer to my financial goals, or push me farther away?
If you would like to hear more about this topic, please feel free to contact our office for a presentation, workshop, or individual coaching session. You can also access the Green to Gold Learning Modules for further self-directed learning and content.