Are you a busy mama who is completely overwhelmed with the idea of making a budget? You know that you seriously need a money makeover, but you really have no idea where to start? Then you, my friend, have come to the right place! Let me explain…
I have seen many, many, too-many-to-count budgets floating around lately, and many of them are great tools. However, moms often have very different budgeting needs and ideas. I need my budget to be specific enough to include expenses such as school lunches, yearbooks, field trips, after-school childcare, but not so specific that it completely overwhelms my life and causes me to throw in the towel.
If this sounds like you, keep reading……
WHO NEEDS A BUDGET, ANYWAY?
YOU DO! Aren’t you tired of wondering where your money went? You get paid one day, and, before you know it, you have $1.63 left in the bank with 4 days left until payday. You also need gas to get to work, lunch money for the kids, and dog food.
If you were following a budget, you would have allowed for these expenses and wouldn’t be stuck in this soul-draining place. This is a hard place for anyone to be, but when you are a mom who really desires to make a better way for her kids, being broke can put you in a dark hole that isn’t always easy to climb out of. It’s time to start making your money work for YOU!
WHY IS BUDGETING SO HARD?
Making a budget isn’t hard, but living by one is extremely hard at times. This is because we are human, and we tend to desire instant gratification. It is very difficult to tell ourselves “NO” sometimes when we “want it now”, and it’s almost painful when we feel like we are depriving our kids of something they “need” such as money to go to a movie with friends or a new school yearbook. They are only kids once, right?
Working a budget is 10% money and 90% behavior. If you are serious about getting your money in order and changing the course of your life, learn to make a budget and stick with it.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right the first time. Budgeting takes practice. The important thing is to keep going and keep trying. Do not give up. Your family is worth it!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Don’t try to overcomplicate your budget! We do not all need to be accountants. If you can balance your own checkbook, you can create your own budget. Making things harder than they have to be is a big NO NO in my life. I mean, really. Who has time for that?
GIVE YOURSELF A LITTLE WIGGLE ROOM
I don’t know about you, but I can write a budget all day long that looks beautiful on paper, but in real life is totally unrealistic. I mean, I have a family of 6 plus 2 dogs. My food and household budget is not going to be $300 unless somebody is going hungry this month. It is just not realistic. If I tried to live like that, I would immediately fail, and therefore, get frustrated and give up my budget.
Trust me when I say that when I first started budgeting, I went full-force. I had all of this money (theoretically) set aside. My bills were all paid, and I had plenty left over for savings.
What I didn’t do was live in reality. I had no money set aside for things like concessions at the ballgame or the occasional take-out on those days where it just wasn’t feasible to cook. Also, as I already mentioned, I didn’t make a realistic household budget. I think I had $300 set aside to buy groceries and all other household items (think toilet paper, shampoo, diapers, etc). What the what?
That is impossible for a family of 6! But when I would go over my budget, I would feel defeated, and feel like I couldn’t do it. I always felt like I never had enough money. That feeling gets really old, really fast.
PAY YOURSELF FIRST
Do not completely deprive yourself. I repeat, do not completely deprive yourself. Should you cut back? Probably. You probably have room to trim a little fat, but if you start depriving yourself of everything, you will set yourself up for failure. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
It’s completely ok to give in to your kids every now and then. Go for ice cream! Take them to the zoo (check for discounts 😉 ) Don’t stop making memories, but you must budget for these things.
This is a tough one! Stop saying you can’t do it! Stop saying that you don’t make enough money to budget or to save! Make a way for yourself! Change the direction in your financial life! You can’t wait around for someone else to do it for you (if you do, it will never happen)!
Don’t be afraid to dream. What could life look like in 5 years if you make changes today? Even little ones. Little changes lead to big changes which could completely change the course of your life.
INCLUDE YOUR FAMILY
Let them know what you are up to and what to expect in the future. It is a solid idea to have family budget meetings and discuss the upcoming month to see what may need to be included. Is there a birthday party coming up, a field trip, or some other event that you need to save for? These could potentially be budget-killers if you don’t know about them up front!
I totally get it!
Creating a budget from scratch is an intimidating task! Sometimes just the anxiety of actually coming face to face with your spending habits can be daunting. Just get started, and it will get easier with each budget.
Now, I’m not going to act like I am the budget guru and have my life totally together or anything. Actually most days, the opposite is true! My life is crazy busy, and I need all the help I can get! The simpler, the better. No need to complicate something that doesn’t have to be complicated.
By creating a budget, I have been able to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, create a small safety net (still a work in progress), and pay down some debt. I am not where I need to be yet, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel where I once did not. By creating a budget and working on my “I need this right now” attitude, we no longer have to constantly worry about money all the time. Our money has a job to do. We are in control instead of the other way around.
I honestly, whole-heartedly hope that making a budget will work for you as well as it worked for me.