When most people hear the word “budget”, the last thing they think of next is “freedom”! Budgets get a bad rap. They are thought of as constraining and boring when in fact, the opposite is true.
What is constraining is not being able to afford the things you want or need. What is boring is eating rice every meal because you can’t afford anything else!
Making (and sticking to) a budget actually brings incredible freedom. It allows you the freedom to dream about the possibilities, the freedom to make smart choices that will positively impact your family, the freedom the know what you are spending instead of burying your head in the sand, and of course, the freedom that comes from not being held prisoner to financial debt.
There was a time when we had no idea what we were spending every month and didn’t have a plan for our financial future. That time went on for over a decade. It’s not hard to imagine that that road led us into debt and feeling like we would never see the light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t think there was any hope of a major change unless we won the lottery and since we never buy tickets, that happening was highly improbable!
I had friends who were reporting success with the envelope system, computer budgeting programs or even just handwritten lists but the one I heard the best things about was the Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover. Reluctantly, I bought the book and my husband and I both read it. Partway through, I was convinced that this was the system that would turn things around for us. I used the budgeting sheets that came with it and went through our spending history to come up with a realistic budget and debt payment plan. It was not a quick fix, but we saw results quite quickly and began to make headway on paying off our debt.
It may not sound as spontaneous to set aside money for a trip or a big purchase, but I can tell you it makes the purchase or holiday way more fun when you can pay cash for it! We have been saving for months for a big road trip that we are planning for next year. This huge family trip (ie: freedom) has only been possible thanks to budgeting.
I encourage you to sit down and determine what you are spending each month and where that money is going. You may be surprised by what you find. Next, determine what areas you could realistically cut your spending and with this information, create a budget that you can live with. I recommend The Total Money Makeover if you are serious about getting in control of this area of your life but any budget will be an improvement over having no budget.
I know that it’s scary to take an honest look at your spending and your financial commitments and debt but this is one example of knowledge being power. I believe that you can do this. I’m so glad that I did.
Join us this month as I share ways to help you move towards the life you want to live. Join me in the challenge. Ready to jump off the cliff?