Since today is payday and that means that I can nudge my financial plans forward; this also causes me to reflect on paydays. I used to take a more lackadaisical approach to paydays. I would just spend on what I needed to spend on and then leave the rest in the bank, I had no real plan.
Although for the last number of years this was because there were always more bills than money. I just threw a few dollars at the bills that were screaming the loudest and tried to ignore the other snarling bills until the next payday.
Now, I see that a disciplined and businesslike approach to personal finances is best. Sit down and plan out your budget before you get your paycheque. Look at your own financial situation as a business: plan for your future, budget for the present and prepare for unforeseen eventualities.
A key thing to do as payday approaches is to reflect on how your last budget went. How did it go? Was it realistic or did you pretty much throw it out the window and spend like a drunken sailor. Not that I have ever done this . . . nope . . . never . . . always stuck to a budget . . . always . . . yep . . . *nervously looking around.*
Seriously, life and budgeting is a learning experience, so make sure you learn from your past experiences. Be realistic as you plan, because that is the only way you will be able to stick to a budget. Do not be afraid to alter and modify your budgeting process as you go so as to make a budget that you can live with.
For example if you absolutely have to have that cup of coffee from that favourite coffee shop in the morning, budget for it. Perhaps get a prepaid card for that favourite coffee shop and load it up each payday. That way your spending on your morning coffee is predictable and budgetable, but you still get that morning coffee. Seriously, if you are going to do it anyways, budget for it. (Work on altering your behaviour as you go).
Once you get your paycheque, and before you deposit it, review your budget. Look over what you have planned and think it over again. Take into account how much you actually got paid and any bills that just arrived or if situations have changed. In construction the saying is “Measure twice, cut once,” in finances and budgeting I say “Think twice, spend once.”
This little process will not only let you get a hold of your finances but move forward. Only when you are more careful with what resources you have, can you better your situation. Remember to not be so hard on yourself, and budget for your bad habits (as you try to curb them).
As always . . . think twice, spend once.