Updated: Feb 15, 2021
You know you've heard this a hundred times – create a budget and stick to it. But when you sit down to make one, does it seem daunting or intimidating, or too hard or too restrictive or gosh, maybe you just have an aversion to money management?
Would having a template help you create one?
Well, don't go buying one or searching on Google. You probably have one right at your fingertips.
If you have Microsoft Office products then you probably have a budget program in EXCEL. Don't have that? What about NUMBERS? Yes, they have templates as well.
Go to the program you have. Click on "New" or "New From Template." Now, scroll through the options. What?! There's a Personal Budget template there?? Yes indeed. You also might find templates for Family Budget, a Pay-off Credit Card Calculator, a Mortgage Loan Calculator, even a chore chart (oh, that's for another time).
Now get out your bills, and start to figure it out. What are hard costs? (rent, cell phone, internet, loan payments) What are flexible costs? (groceries, entertainment, clothing, vacation) Is your income and expenses allowing you to save money for emergencies? Retirement? College for the kids? Savings? If not, start to adjust now. Don't wait until you can't sleep at night wondering if you can make next month's rent.
During COVID, we should also think about that emergency fund. Also, go through your credit cards and make sure you are using the subscription services you signed up for. (gyms, wine clubs, make-up boxes, book clubs, movie passes, meal kits, coffee clubs, etc.) Get rid of what you don't use or really don't need.
Nothing is more freeing than having financial security. And remember, just because you have checks in your checkbook doesn't mean you have money in the bank. (Okay! Stop laughing! I had a client who actually said that.)
In the grand scheme of things, a budget tells your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. Get it together for 2021. Set a payoff goal (a credit card or a loan) and get working on the budget.